Occupational Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Polish Coke Plant Workers

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Assessment of occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is an urgent and important task to prevent workers’ illnesses. 1-Hydroxypyrene is one of the most commonly used biomarkers. The presented study assessed exposure to PAHs molecules among 619 individuals, men working in coke plant. Average number of years spent on working posts in exposition to PAHs was 31.5 years with standard deviation = 5.3. About 35% were smokers with 14.7 cigarettes per day. For each individual, 1-hydroxypyrene concentration in urine samples was measured. Urine 1-hydroxypyrene concentration correlated with air PAHs concentration. Difference between smokers and non-smokers was statistically significant. The median value for post-shift samples was 1.3 µg g–1 and for pre-shift sample concentration reached 0.3 µg g–1. Maximal assessed concentration was 7.6 µg g–1 among pre-shift samples and 27.8 µg g–1 among post-shift samples. The most exposed working posts were coke oven workers and coal derivatives production workers. Results obtained in presented study are relatively low in comparison to other countries or other Polish results but for further improvement a regular measurement of any PAHs’ biomarker should be included to standard periodic health examinations for coke plant workers.

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