Objective. To assess, by means of biological monitoring, the potential exposure to metallic elements of workers operating in the integrated route steelworks plant in Taranto. Methods. A total of 755 workers from different working areas of the steelworks plant, with potential occupational exposure to metallic elements (Exposed), and 101 workers from the finished products embarking area of the same plant, not exposed to metallic elements (Not exposed), were examined. After the administration of questionnaire inquiring about working activity, residence location and lifestyle habits, all the workers collected a urine sample for the determination of Cr, Mn, Co, Cu, Zn, Cd, Hg, Pb by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), of Ni by atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS), and of urinary creatinine. Moreover, all the workers underwent venous blood sampling for the determination of Pb by AAS. The results of the environmental monitoring of Cr, Mn, Co, Cu, Cd, Hg, Pb and Ni, carried out by specialized companies in the same period of biomonitoring in some of the working areas where potentially exposed workers operate, were also obtained. Results. None of the examined metallic elements showed values exceeding the specific ACGIH BEI, while only urinary Co and Zn exceeded the reference values of the laboratory where analyzes were carried out in more than 5% of the determinations (5.9 %), only in the not exposed workers. Moreover, more than 5% of the determinations higher than the reference values of the Italian Reference Values Society (SIVR) were observed for urinary Cu, both in potentially exposed (19.2%) and in not exposed workers (19.8%), and for urinary Cd, only in potentially exposed workers (6%). Comparison between potentially exposed and not exposed workers showed higher concentrations in the former only for urinary Mn (p <0.05). Environmental monitoring showed airborne concentrations of metallic elements almost always lower than TLV-TWA ACGIH, with most of the determinations below the respective limits of detection for all the metallic elements, except for Mn. Conclusions. The study did not show the presence of metallic elements higher in the potentially exposed than in the not exposed workers, except for urinary Mn that, however, was always included both in SIVR and in the laboratory reference values.
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|Titolo:||Biomonitoring of exposure to metallic elements in the steelworks plant of Taranto|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|