To assess the effectiveness of protective skin coveralls in reducing skin contamination among coke-oven workers, 1-hydroxypyrene glucuronide (1- OHPG) was used as an internal dose marker of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure. Twenty coke-oven workers at a steel plant in South Korea provided their first morning void urine samples before beginning work, as well as postshift urine samples after working for five days with regular skin protection. Pre- and postshift urine samples from the same workers were collected after new skin coveralls made from Tyvek® had been worn during the week following regular skin protection. Urine samples were quantitated for 1- OHPG by immunoaffinity purification and HPLC with a fluorescence detector. The benzene-soluble fraction (BSF) of coke oven emissions (COE) in personal air samples from the 20 workers was also quantitated. To obtain information relating to smoking, job history, dietary habits, drug use, past medical history, and the use of personal protective equipment, a self-administered questionnaire was used. The mean age of study participants was 39.7 yr and the average length of employment was 12 yr (11 months - 18 yr). In 20 workers, there was a statistically significant correlation between ambient COE and urinary 1-OHPG levels during the period of regular skin protection (r=0.50, p<0.05). The difference in 1-OHPG levels between post- and preshift urine samples using regular skin protection was higher than when the new skin coveralls were worn. Although this was not statistically significant, there was a statistically significant difference in 1-OHPG among topside workers (p<0.05). These results indicate that the introduction of the new skin coverall resulted in significant reductions of urinary PAH metabolites among workers exposed to higher levels of PAHs. The measurement of PAH metabolites in human urine appears to be ideally suited to biomonitoring in the workplace and testing the effectiveness of attempts to reduce PAH exposure.
- Coke-oven workers
- Urinary PAH metabolites
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health