The aim of the present study is to determine the effect of blood lead on the health of industrial workers in United Arab Emirates (UAE). This is a cross-sectional pilot survey of blood lead levels (BLL) of 100 industrial workers (exposed) and 100 non-industrial workers (nonexposed), matched for age, sex and nationality selected from Al-Ain, Abu-Dhabi Emirate. Industrial workers had significantly higher mean of BLL (77.5 +/- 42.8 mug/dl and median 80.9 mug/dl) than non-industrial workers (19.8 +/- 12.3 mug/dl and median 11.0 mug/dl). In the present study, reported symptoms among industrial workers were strongly associated with BLL nausea/vomiting, muscular symptoms, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, memory disturbances, insomnia and allergic conjuctivitis, rhinitis and dermatitis. Furthermore, the present study revealed that industrial workers had higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms for phlegm, shortness of breath and diagnosed asthma. In conclusion, this study determined that occurrence of certain symptoms might be associated with lead exposure among industrial workers. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.