Author(s): Eriksson KA, Levin JO, Sandstrm T, LindstrmEspeling K, Lindn G,
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: Exposure to monoterpenes (alpha-pinene, beta-pinene and delta 3-carene) in joinery shops was studied in Sweden during the processing of Scot's pine, and the acute respiratory effects among the employees were evaluated. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of 38 workers was carried out in 4 joinery shops. The investigation included personal air sampling of monoterpenes, biological monitoring of metabolites of alpha-pinene in the workers' urine, interviews following a standardized questionnaire, and dynamic spirometry. RESULTS: The personal exposure to monoterpenes in the joinery shops was 10-214 mg/m3. The correlation (correlation coefficient = 0.69) between exposure to alpha-pinene and verbenols (metabolites from alpha-pinene) in urine was relatively good. No acute effects on forced vital capacity or forced expiratory volume during 1 s were detected. The workers had significantly reduced preshift lung function values when compared with the values of a local reference group, even when smokers and ex-smokers were excluded. CONCLUSIONS: Personal exposure to the monoterpenes alpha-pinene, and delta 3-carene in joinery shops may exceed the present Swedish occupational exposure limit of 150 mg/m3 during the winter season when workroom air is commonly recirculated. The determination of metabolites of alpha-pinene (verbenols) in urine can be used as an index of exposure to fumes released during wood-treating processes. The results from the lung function tests indicate chronic rather than acute reactions in the airways. The fact that there were no major changes in lung function over a workshift indicates chronic reaction in the airways.
This article was published in Scand J Work Environ Health
and referenced in Journal of Analytical & Bioanalytical Techniques