Biomonitoring of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in firefighters at fire training facilities and in employees at respiratory protection and hose workshops

  • \(\bf Introduction:\) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are carcinogenic to humans and are formed by incomplete combustion. PAHs are always present during firefighting operations, and fire department members can be exposed to them in the workplace. \(\bf Methods:\) In this study, we analyzed 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) in 36 urine samples from nine firefighters, collected before and after fire training sessions, and 32 urine samples from eight employees at respiratory protection and hose workshops. To assess breakthrough PAH exposure through personal protective equipment and potential dermal uptake, some of the workshop employees wore cotton garments under their regular workwear. Cotton samples were then examined for the presence of 17 semi-volatile and low-volatility PAHs. \(\bf Results:\) After firefighting exercises, we observed approximately a fivefold increase in mean 1-OHP concentrations in samples from firefighters, from 0.24 \(\mu\)g/L to 1.17 \(\mu\)g/L (maximum: 5.31 \(\mu\)g/L). In contrast, 1-OHP levels in workshop employees were found to be low, with the majority of urine samples yielding concentrations below the limit of quantification (LOQ: 0.05 \(\mu\)g/L, maximum: 0.11 \(\mu\)g/L). Similarly, low PAH levels were found on the workshop employees' cotton undergarments, with maximum concentrations of 250 and 205 ng/g for pyrene and benzo[a]pyrene, respectively. \(\bf Discussion:\) In conclusion, significant increases in 1-OHP in urine were observed in firefighters after training sessions, whereas work-related exposure remained low among workshop employees.

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Author:Stephan KoslitzORCiDGND, Birgit HeinrichGND, Heiko KäfferleinORCiDGND, Holger M. KochORCiDGND, Tim PelzlGND, Katrin PitzkeGND, Daniel KösterORCiDGND, Tobias WeißORCiDGND, Volker HarthGND, Thomas BrüningORCiDGND, Thomas BehrensORCiDGND, Dirk TaegerORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in public health
Publisher:Frontiers Media
Place of publication:Lausanne
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2024/03/21
Date of first Publication:2023/12/13
Publishing Institution:Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsbibliothek
Tag:Open Access Fonds
PAH; exposure; firefighting; occupational hygiene; urine; workplace
Issue:Artikel 1277812
First Page:1277812-1
Last Page:1277812-9
Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Open Access Publication Fund of Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
Institutes/Facilities:Institut für Prävention und Arbeitsmedizin der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung
Dewey Decimal Classification:Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / Medizin, Gesundheit
open_access (DINI-Set):open_access
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY 4.0 - Attribution 4.0 International