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Bitumen workers handling mastic versus rolled asphalt in a tunnel: assessment of exposure and biomarkers of irritation and genotoxicity

Bitumen workers handling mastic versus rolled asphalt in a tunnel: assessment of exposure and biomarkers of irritation and genotoxicity,10.1007/s00204

Bitumen workers handling mastic versus rolled asphalt in a tunnel: assessment of exposure and biomarkers of irritation and genotoxicity   (Citations: 2)
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Emission levels of vapours and aerosols of bitumen are different when processing rolled asphalt compared to mastic asphalt, with working temperatures up to 180 and 250°C, respectively. During the Human Bitumen Study, we examined six workers handling rolled asphalt and mastic asphalt in two consecutive weeks at the same construction site in a tunnel. In addition to the determination of exposure to bitumen and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) during shift, we examined urinary PAH metabolites, irritative and genotoxic effects before and after shift. Median personal shift concentration of vapours and aerosols of bitumen was 1.8 (range 0.9–2.4) mg/m3 during the application of rolled asphalt and 7.9 (range 4.9–11.9) mg/m3 when mastic asphalt was applied. Area measurement of vapours and aerosols of bitumen revealed higher concentrations than the personal measurements for mastic asphalt (mastic asphalt: 34.9 mg/m3; rolled asphalt: 1.8 mg/m3). Processing mastic asphalt was associated also with higher PAH concentrations. Urinary 1-hydroxypyrene and the sum of 1-, 2+ 9-, 3- and 4-hydroxyphenanthrene increased slightly during shift without clear difference between mastic and rolled asphalt application. However, the post-shift urinary PAH-metabolite concentrations did not reflect the different PAH exposure during mastic and rolled asphalt application. Individual workers could be identified by their spirometry results indicating that these data reflect more chronic than acute effects. In most cases, an increase of 8-oxodGuo adducts was observed during shift that was independent of the asphalt application. 8-oxodGuo and (+)-anti-BPDE-DNA adducts were higher than in exposed workers of the Human Bitumen Study independent of the asphalt application. The DNA-strand breaks were considerably higher pre-shift and decreased during shift. In this study, mastic asphalt application led to significantly higher exposure to vapours and aerosols of bitumen, as well as to airborne PAH, compared to rolled asphalt application. Nevertheless, no differences in the excretion of urinary PAH metabolites, lung function impairment and genotoxic markers were detected. However, higher levels of genotoxicity markers on both examination days compared with the results of the Human Bitumen Study may indicate a possible influence of the specific tunnel setting.
Journal: Archives of Toxicology - ARCH TOXICOL , vol. 85, pp. 81-87, 2011
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