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J Occup Health year 2004 volume 46 number 3 page 181 - 186
Classification Original
Title Occupational Exposure to Aromatic Hydrocarbons at a Coke Plant: Part II. Exposure Assessment of Volatile Organic Compounds
Author Grazyna BIENIEK, Slawomir KURKIEWICZ, Tadeusz WILCZOK, Katarzyna KLIMEK, Longina SWIATKOWSKA and Agnieszka LUSIAK
Organization Department of Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biopharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy Medical University of Silesia, Poland
Keywords Mixed exposure, Urinary metabolites, GC/FID analysis
Correspondence G. Bieniek, Department of Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biopharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy Medical University of Silesia, Jagiellonska 4, 41-200, Sosnowiec, Poland (e-mail: maja@slam.katowice.pl)
Abstract Occupational Exposure to Aromatic Hydrocarbons at a Coke Plant: Part II. Exposure Assessment of Volatile Organic Compounds: Grazyna BIENIEK, et al. Department of Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biopharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy Medical University of Silesia, Poland-The objective of the study is to assess the external and internal exposures to aromatic hydrocarbons in the tar and oil naphthalene distillation processes at a coke plant. 69 workers engaged as operators in tar and oil naphthalene distillation processes and 25 non-exposed subjects were examined. Personal analyses of the benzene, toluene, xylene isomers, ethylbenzene, naphthalene, indan, indene and acenaphthene in the breathing zone air allowed us to determine the time weighted average exposure levels to the aromatic hydrocarbons listed above. The internal exposure was investigated by measurement of the urinary excretion of naphthols, 2-methylphenol and dimethylphenol isomers by means of gas chromatography with a flame ionization detection (GC/FID). Urine metabolites were extracted after enzymatic hydrolysis by solid-phase extraction with styrene-divinylbenzene resin. The time-weighted average concentrations of the hydrocarbons detected in the breathing zone air shows that the exposure levels of the workers are relatively low in comparison to the exposure limits. Statistically significant differences between average concentrations of aromatic hydrocarbons (benzene, toluene, xylene isomers) determined at the workplaces in the tar distillation department have been found. Concentrations of the naphthalene and acenaphthene detected in workers from the oil distillation department are higher that those from the tar distillation department. Concentrations of naphthols, 2-methoxyphenol and dimethylphenol isomers in the urine of occupationally exposed workers were significantly higher than those of non-exposed subjects. Concentrations of the 2-methoxyphenol and dimethylphenol isomers in urine were significantly higher for the tar distillation workers, whereas concentrations of naphthols were higher for the oil naphthalene distillation workers. Operators at the tar and naphthalene oil distillation processes are simultaneously exposed to a mixture of different hydrocarbons, mainly benzene and naphthalene homologues.