Assessment of work-related exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Italy

Authors

  • Alberto Scarselli MS,

    Corresponding author
    • Epidemiology Unit, Occupational Medicine Department, Research Division, Italian Workers' Compensation Authority (INAIL), Rome,Italy
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  • Davide Di Marzio BS,

    1. Epidemiology Unit, Occupational Medicine Department, Research Division, Italian Workers' Compensation Authority (INAIL), Rome,Italy
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  • Alessandro Marinaccio MS,

    1. Epidemiology Unit, Occupational Medicine Department, Research Division, Italian Workers' Compensation Authority (INAIL), Rome,Italy
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  • Sergio Iavicoli MD, PhD

    1. Epidemiology Unit, Occupational Medicine Department, Research Division, Italian Workers' Compensation Authority (INAIL), Rome,Italy
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  • Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests.

INAIL, Settore Ricerca, Certificazione e Verifica Dipartimento di Medicina del Lavoro, Via Alessandria, 220/E, Roma 00198, Italy. E-mail: a.scarselli@inail.it

Abstract

Background

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are generally present in the workplace environment as complex mixtures and often difficult to identify a priori.

Objectives

The aim of this study is to evaluate the level and coverage of occupational exposure to PAHs in Italy.

Methods

Data were collected from exposure registries of companies with mandatory reporting to the National Workers' Compensation Authority. Statistical analyses were carried out on the retrieved information and the number of workers potentially exposed was estimated for some industrial sectors.

Results

Overall 12,849 measurements of exposure levels to individual PAHs were selected from the database of registries in the period 1996–2010. Most exposures occurred in the manufacture of chemicals (N = 5,383, 51%), and the occupational group most frequently measured was chemical-processing-plant operator (N = 3,930, 31%). Measurements were associated to various PAHs, including benzo[a]pyrene, benzo[a]anthracene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, benzo[k]fluoranthene, dibenz[a,h]anthracene, and benzo[j]fluoranthene. Overall, 39,230 workers were estimated as potentially at risk of exposure to PAHs in the selected industrial sectors.

Conclusions

This study summarized data recorded in the Italian occupational exposure database and identified specific exposure patterns to PAHs. The systematic recording of occupational exposures is a source of data that allows the recognition, control, and prevention of high-risk situations for workers' health. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:897–906, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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