Biological Monitoring of Blood Naphthalene Levels as a Marker of Occupational Exposure to PAHs among Auto-Mechanics and Spray Painters in Rawalpindi

Kamal, Atif; Qayyum, Mazhar; Cheema, Iqbal U.; Rashid, Audil
January 2011
BMC Public Health;2011, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p467
Academic Journal
Background: Routine exposure to chemical contaminants in workplace is a cause for concern over potential health risks to workers. In Pakistan, reports on occupational exposure and related health risks are almost nonexistent, which reflects the scarce availability of survey data and criteria for determining whether an unsafe exposure has occurred. The current study was designed to evaluate blood naphthalene (NAPH) levels as an indicator of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) among automobile workshop mechanics (MCs) and car-spray painters (PNs). We further determined the relationship between blood NAPH levels and personal behavioural, job related parameters and various environmental factors that may further be associated with elevated risks of occupational exposures to PAHs. Methods: Sixty blood samples (n = 20 for each group i.e. MC, PN and control group) were collected to compare their blood NAPH levels among exposed (MCs and PNs) and un-exposed (control) groups. Samples were analyzed using high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). Data regarding demographic aspects of the subjects and their socioeconomic features were collected using a questionnaire. Subjects were also asked to report environmental hygiene conditions of their occupational environment. Results: We identified automobile work areas as potential sites for PAHs exposure, which was reflected by higher blood NAPH levels among MCs. Blood NAPH levels ranged from 53.7 to 1980.6 μgL-1 and 54.1 to 892.9 μgL-1 among MCs and PNs respectively. Comparison within each group showed that smoking enhanced exposure risks several fold and both active and passive smoking were among personal parameters that were significantly correlated with log-transformed blood NAPH levels. For exposed groups, work hours and work experience were job related parameters that showed strong associations with the increase in blood NAPH levels. Poor workplace hygiene and ventilation were recognized as most significant predictors related to differences among workplaces that may enhance the extent of exposure to chemical contaminants. Conclusions: It appeared that chemical exposure at the workplace may be influenced by multiple environmental factors, but poor workplace hygiene and duration of exposure (long work hours) were the most important factors. Smoking and negligence of workers regarding self protection were among some of the important personal behaviours than can be addressed with better training. There is also a need to improve workplaces hygiene and to rationalize work hours to minimize health risks. Since smoking was an important confounding factor that supplemented most of the actual occupational exposure, a study based on non-smoker subjects is needed to separate out the effects of smoking and other confounding factors that may obscure measurements of actual extent of occupational exposure.


Related Articles

  • Postscript.  // Occupational & Environmental Medicine;Jan2002, Vol. 59 Issue 1, p63 

    Presents comments on articles related to occupational diseases. Methodological problems in a case-referent study based on a register of occupational asthma; Survey of employees with occupational asthma due to the enzymes phytase and beta-glucanase; Incidence of nasal, eye and skin irritation in...

  • Occupational asthma and contact dermatitis in a spray painter after introduction of an aziridine cross-linker. Leffler, Christopher T.; Milton, Donald K. // Environmental Health Perspectives;Jul1999, Vol. 107 Issue 7, p599 

    Focuses on the development of asthma and contact dermatitis in a 23-year-old spray painter after using a paint activator. Details of the patient's medical history; Findings indicating that exposure to the activator substance is at fault for his conditions.

  • Occupational infections. Snashall, David // BMJ: British Medical Journal (International Edition);8/31/96, Vol. 313 Issue 7056, p551 

    Focuses on various aspects of occupation diseases in Great Britain. Population at risk; Incidence; Common diseases; Includes anthrax and leptospirosis; Need for specific immunizations for workers.

  • Occupational Cancer in Men Exposed to Dust and Other Environmental Hazards. Bross, Irwin D.J.; Viadana, Enrico; Houten, Lorne // Archives of Environmental Health;Nov/Dec78, Vol. 33 Issue 6 

    Part IV. Analyzes the occupational cancer risks in men exposed to dust and other environmental hazards in Buffalo, New York. Role of occupational hazards in the overall public health problem of cancer; Presentation of occupational classification of men; Correlations of myeloma and leukemia...

  • You work with a computer; ergo, you may be injured. Hart, Katherine Lawso // New Orleans CityBusiness (1994 to 2008);5/15/95, Vol. 15 Issue 45, p13 

    Reports on the efforts of businesses to manage ailments associated with computer use in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ergonomics programs of Rob Streeck's Ochsner Center for Occupational Health; Developments in ergonomics in the area; National Finance Center's program to prevent motion injuries;...

  • Do computers make you sick? Lobb, Brenda // NZ Business;Feb95, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p34 

    Offers advice on preventing computer-related illness for employees in New Zealand. Illnesses associated with computers; Reason for the illness; Features of the Visual Display Units (VDU) by the Occupational Safety and Health Service (OSH); Other computer-based products to prevent computer-based...

  • Quantitative Cancer Risk Assessment for Dioxins Using an Occupational Cohort. Becher, Heiko; Steindorf, Karen; Flesch-Janys, Dieter // Environmental Health Perspectives Supplements;Apr98 Supplement 2, Vol. 106, p663 

    Examines a group of male German factory workers who produced phenoxy herbicides and were exposed to dioxins.

  • Cancer Incidence in Danish Phenoxy Herbicide Workers, 1947-1993. Lynge, Elsebeth; Becher, Heiko; Flesch-Janys, Dieter // Environmental Health Perspectives Supplements;Apr98 Supplement 2, Vol. 106, p683 

    Presents a study of workers from Denmark who were potentially exposed to phenoxy herbicides.

  • Immune Cell Functions in Industrial Workers after Exposure to 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin: Dissociation of Antigen-Specific T-Cell Responses in Cultures of Diluted Whole Blood and of... Ernst, Martin; Flesch-Janys, D.; Morgenstern, I.; Manz, A.; Becher, Heiko // Environmental Health Perspectives Supplements;Apr98 Supplement 2, Vol. 106, p701 

    Examines the phenotype and function of peripheral blood leukocytes in German industrial workers who were exposed to high concentrations of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) in chemical plants.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics