The study was initiated to determinants of inhalation exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon compounds (PAHs) among iron foundry workers in different workplace namely, molding, melting, shaking, blasting and finishing sections. The study population included five sections of foundry workers: 22 molding, 25 melting, 20 shaking, 18 blasting and 15 finishing workers. During work shifts, personal air samples were collected from each worker’s breathing zone using a PTFE filter and cassette holder connected in series with an XAD-2 sorbent tube. The entire sample were analysed for sixteen PAHs with HPLC. The total inhalation exposure of total PAHs (ΣPAHs) concentrations was 46.64 μg/m3 ranging 0.08–478.43 μg/m3 in all the samples. The PAHs with lower molecular weight and higher molecular weight contributed 55.02% and 44.98%, respectively, to the ΣPAHs. About 16% exposure samples collected at various sections of foundry exceeded the PAHs level prescribed by NIOSH standard limit. The highest level of ΣPAHs were found in the molding (82.64 μg/m3) followed by finishing (67.86 μg/m3), blasting (34.74 μg/m3), shaking (25.04 μg/m3) and melting (23.48 μg/m3) sections, respectively. By applying risk assessment it was estimated that the total unit risk of PAHs harming the foundry workers was 9.43 × 10–4 and about 95% of total risk is contributed by benzo[α]pyrene (BaP) and dibenzo [α h]anthracene (DahA). The study indicating the inhalation risk due to these PAHs exposures are not negligible and should be taken into account for health protection of the workers to address the quantitative aspects relating lung cancer risks to PAHs compounds in foundries.
Foundry PAHs Inhalation Risk Assessment
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The authors are highly grateful to The Director, National Institute of Occupational Health for granting permission to conduct the study. Assistance rendered by staffs of ROHC(S) is gratefully acknowledged. The authors also acknowledge the management and workers of the industry for participation in this study.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author state that there is no conflict of interest.
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