In this paper we evaluated the possibility to assess occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) measuring unmetabolized PAHs in urine. With this aim, 24 road paving (RP) workers, exposed to bitumen fumes, and 6 road construction workers (CW), exposed to diesel exhausts, were investigated. Median personal exposure to low boiling PAHs (from naphthalene to pyrene) during the work shift ranged from 0.5 to 369 ng/m3, with naphthalene as the most abundant compound. Three urine samples were collected for each worker: baseline (after 2 days of vacation), before- and end-shift samples (in the second part of the work week). The following urinary compounds were measured by headspace-solid phase microextraction GC/MS: naphthalene (U-NAP), acenaphthylene (U-ACY), acenaphthene (U-ACE), fluorene (U-FLE), phenanthrene (U-PHE), anthracene (U-ANT), fluoranthene (U-FLU), pyrene (U-PYR). Urinary PAHs were detected in almost all samples. Median levels for U-NAP, U-PHE, U-PYR and U-FLE in end-shift samples were 82, 48, 54 and 21 ng/L in RP and 69, 14, 24 and 15 ng/L in CW, respectively. Significant differences in the levels of U-PHE, U-FLU and U-PYR were found between RP and CW (p <0.05). Moreover in RP samples the urinary excretion of most analytes increased during the work shift (p <0.05). These results suggest that urinary PAHs may be useful biomarkers of occupational exposure.
- Polycyclic aromatic compounds
- Road pavers
- Unmetabolized PAHs
ASJC Scopus subject areas