Objectives: During the recent years, risk of lead poisoning has increased in Iranian’s opium users. A few researches showed that the most common route were ingestion of lead contaminated opium in these patients. However, some use of inhaler opium and data on lead poisoning through this route is scarce. The aim of the current study was to determine lead poisoning in opium users who consume it inhalational.
Methods: In this case-control study, blood lead level (BLL) and clinical Lead poisoning assessed and compared between pure inhalational and pure ingestionally chronic opium users and healthy controls.
Results: There were totally 90 cases, 30 patients in each group (pure inhaler opium users, pure oral opium users, and control group). In chronic opium users (case group), mean age of the patients was 48.91±13.14 yeas (range; 22 to 79 years). Eighty-four (85%) patients were male (Male to Female ratio; 5.6/1). Mean BLL was 10.6 ±4.2, 126.1 ±52µg/dl, in inhalational opium users and ingestional users, respectively (P=0.001). The mean of BLL in healthy control group was and 4.78 µg/dl ± 1.83.
Conclusions: In contrast to chronic ingestion of opium, the probability of absorption of lead via lungs is low when opium used by smoking and inhalation route. So, lead toxicity is not common in acute or chronic inhalational users of lead-contaminated opium.