Coke oven workers are regularly exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), known as an indicator species for PAH contamination, is a neurobehavioral toxicant. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the relationship between B[a]P exposure, a B[a]P-related urinary metabolite and neurobehavioral function among coke oven workers.
Coke oven workers and oxygen factory workers participated in this study. B[a]P exposure was monitored by air sampling pump, and urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) level was detected with high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). A questionnaire and the neurobehavioral core test battery (NCTB) were administered to all subjects.
B[a]P-exposed workers were found to have higher urinary 1-OHP levels and worse NCTB performances on eight items than control workers. B[a]P concentrations were higher in the coke oven plant than that in the controls' workplace. The performances on simple reaction time, correct pursuit aiming, and error pursuit aiming decreased with increasing airborne B[a]P in coke oven workers. There were significant correlations between urinary 1-OHP level and six items of the NCTB.
Occupational exposure to B[a]P is associated with neurobehavioral function impairment in coke oven workers. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:347–355, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.