There has been growing concern over the impact of environmental exposure to heavy metals and other trace elements on immunologic functions. This study investigated men’s arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) contents in hair samples and their associations with immunological indicators, including white blood cell (WBC), lymphocyte and monocyte counts, and the immunoglobulin (Ig) levels including IgA, IgG and IgE. We recruited 133 men from one antimony trioxide manufacturing plant, two glass manufacturing plants and two plastics manufacturing plants. The mean concentration of Cd [0.16 (SD = 0.03) ug/g] was lower than means of As [0.86 (SD = 0.16) ug/g] and Pb [0.91 (SD = 0.22) ug/g] in hair samples, exerting no relationship with immunologic functions for Cd. The Spearman’s correlation analysis showed a positive relationship between monocyte counts and hair Pb levels, but negative relations between As and IgG and between As and IgE. In conclusion, findings from these industry workers suggest that As levels in hair may have a stronger relation with immunologic function than Cd and PB have. Further research is needed to confirm the negative relationship.
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