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Background: Methemoglobin (Hi) is a metaloprotein in which the iron in the haem group is in ferric state. Sulphaemoglobin (SHb) is a stable, green- pigmented molecule, which is made by the oxidation of the iron in haemoglobin to a ferric state by drugs and chemicals that contain sulphur. Carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb) is a stable complex of carbon monoxide and haemoglobin that forms in red blood cells upon contact with carbon monoxide (CO).
Aim: This study set out to determine Hi, SHb and COHb level of automobile workers and spray painters in Calabar Nigeria. Ninety subjects were recruited for this study, 30 automobile workers, 30 spray painters and 30 non-automobile workers and non-spray painters.
Methods: Standard Evelyn and Malloy method was used for Hi and SHb estimation, Differential Spectrophotometric method was used to measure COHb while microhaematocrit method was used to determine packed cell volume.
Results: The result of this study shows that mean Hi and COHb level were significantly higher (p = 0.02) in spray painters and automobile workers than in the control. The mean Hi, COHb and SHb value of automobile workers and spray painters that are smokers were shown to be significantly higher than those that are non smokers. The result also shows that the COHb, Hi and SHb level of spray painters significantly increased as the duration of work increases.
Conclusion: This study has shown that there is increased level of Hi, COHb and SHb among automobile workers and spray painters in Calabar Cross River State, Nigeria. We therefore recommend enlightenment campaign to educate these set of workers on the negative health implication of exposure to the fumes, gasoline and spray paint.