Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education
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The atmospheric air of metropolis is highly complex due to the combined effect of traffic related activity, industrial and
commercial activities with high population density. The complexity of air pollutants is mainly due to fine particulates (≤
2.5?m) containing fossil fuel soot, bio-fuel soot (having black carbon, primary organic matter, sulfate, absorbed organic chemicals,
metals etc.) and volatile gases that cause local climate change and adverse health impact. Risks of cardiovascular morbidity and
mortality, adverse respiratory outcome, cancers are increasing among city population. Work-exposure to exogenous risk factors
like PM10, VOCs, biological monitoring of VOC metabolites in urine were assessed among two occupational groups, petrol pump
workers and traffic police within the city. Hematological changes, genotoxic effect and respiratory health of workers were also
studied among the exposed groups.
PM10 and size distribution within the periphery of petrol pumps and traffic zones were done by 8-stage Cascade Impactor.
VOCs in air were estimated by GC, FID and five urinary VOC metabolites, tt-MA, SPMA, HA, MA and MHA were meassured
simultaneously by HPLC after SPE. DNA damage in peripheral lymphocytes was assayed by alkaline Comet assay. Pulmonary
function tests of a sub set of two occupational groups were done by Spirometer and Wright?s Peak Flow meter.
PM10 in the range, 176.0-401.2 and 200.0-590.0 μg/m3
obtained respectively in static air of petrol pumps and traffic zones and the
size distribution showed, 49.9% of the PM10 in the size range, <9.0 ?m-4.7 ?m and 26.8%, ≤2.1 ?m, in the former and 50.9% of
<9.0 ?m-4.7 ?m and 26.8%, ≤2.1 ?m in the later. Mean exposure of petrol pump workers to toluene has been found highest (567.4
? 21.15 μg/m3
) of all the VOCs and the values were found to be lower compared to the ACGIH, TLVs, as the work-areas are in the
open. In case of traffic police personnel, the exposure to benzene was found to be the highest (104.6 ? 99.0). Exposure to benzene
was many times higher than the ambient CPCB standard as well as that prescribed by the UK and European Commission.
The pre- and post-shift urinary tt-MA and SPMA were respectively 0.59 & 1.10 mg/g creatinine and 1.58 & 1.70 mg/g creatinine
among petrol pump workers. The post-shift urinary HA, MA and MHA in petrol pump workers were respectively, 8.05, 2.62
and 1.61 mg/g creatinine, found higher than pre-shift and so also in traffic police . The air benzene levels around petrol pump
correlated significantly with post-shift urinary tt-MA (p<0.001) and SPMA (p<0.001) and the air toluene, ethylbenzene and
xylenes, correlated significantly (p<0.001) with pre- and post-shift urinary HA, MA and MHA respectively. The post-shift
metabolites of traffic police found significantly higher than the pre-shift in case of tt-MA (p<0.05), HA (p<0.05) in terms of mg/
gcreatinine. Post-shift urine metabolite values were significantly higher than that of the non-occupationally exposed population
(p<0.01). A decreasing order of urinary biomarkers, HA, MA and MHA noticed as the sequence of environmental levels of
respective hydrocarbons. A better correlation observed between personal exposure to benzene and relative excretion SPMA than
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