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Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Raulf-Heimsoth M.,Ruhr University Bochum | Pesch B.,Ruhr University Bochum | Ruhl R.,BG BAU | Bruning T.,Ruhr University Bochum
Archives of Toxicology | Year: 2011

Bitumen has attracted attention from the scientific community and regulating agencies. The debate on health effects of exposure to vapours and aerosols of bitumen during the hot application of bitumen ranges from respiratory and neurological effects to carcinogenicity. In 2000, the German Hazardous Substances Committee (AGS), in collaboration with the German Bitumen Forum, initiated the examination of a group of mastic asphalt workers and a same number of construction workers without exposure bitumen using a cross-shift design. The study was then extended to the Human Bitumen Study, and the recruitment was finished in 2008 after examination of 500 workers on 80 construction sites. Three hundred and twenty workers exposed to vapours and aerosols of bitumen at high processing temperatures and 118 workers at outdoor construction sites were included. In the Human Bitumen Study external exposure to vapours and aerosols of bitumen, internal exposure to PAH by analysing urinary 1-hydroxypyrene, the sum of hydroxyphenanthrenes and the sum of 1- and 2-hydroxynaphthalenes, irritative effects in the upper and lower airways and genotoxic effects in blood cells were investigated. The study turned out to be one of the largest investigations of workers exposed to vapours and aerosols of bitumen under current exposure conditions. The present paper summarizes its background and main topics. © 2011 Springer-Verlag. Source


Raulf-Heimsoth M.,Ruhr University Bochum | Marczynski B.,Ruhr University Bochum | Spickenheuer A.,Ruhr University Bochum | Pesch B.,Ruhr University Bochum | And 8 more authors.
Archives of Toxicology | Year: 2011

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. © 2011 Springer-Verlag. Source


Breuer D.,Institute for Occupational Safety and Health | Hahn J.-U.,Institute for Occupational Safety and Health | Hober D.,BG BAU | Emmel C.,BG BAU | And 15 more authors.
Archives of Toxicology | Year: 2011

The chemical complexity of emissions from bitumen applications is a challenge in the assessment of exposure. Personal sampling of vapours and aerosols of bitumen was organized in 320 bitumen-exposed workers and 69 non-exposed construction workers during 2001-2008. Area sampling was conducted at 44 construction sites. Area and personal sampling of vapours and aerosols of bitumen showed similar concentrations between 5 and 10 mg/m3, while area sampling yielded higher concentrations above the former occupational exposure limit (OEL) of 10 mg/m3. The median concentration of personal bitumen exposure was 3.46 mg/m3 (inter-quartile range 1.80-5.90 mg/m3). Only few workers were exposed above the former OEL. The specificity of the method measuring C-H stretch vibration is limited. This accounts for a median background level of 0.20 mg/m3 in non-exposed workers which is likely due to ubiquitous aliphatic hydrocarbons. Further, area measurements of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were taken at 25 construction sites. U.S. EPA PAHs were determined with GC/MS, with the result of a median concentration of 2.47 μg/m3 at 15 mastic asphalt worksites associated with vapours and aerosols of bitumen, with a Spearman correlation coefficient of 0.45 (95% CI -0.13 to 0.78). PAH exposure at mastic-asphalt works was higher than at reference worksites (median 0.21 μg/m3), but about one order of magnitude lower compared to coke-oven works. For a comparison of concentrations of vapours and aerosols of bitumen and PAHs in asphalt works, differences in sampling and analytical methods must to be taken into account. © 2011 Springer-Verlag. Source


Spickenheuer A.,Ruhr University Bochum | Ruhl R.,BG BAU | Hober D.,BG BAU | Raulf-Heimsoth M.,Ruhr University Bochum | And 13 more authors.
Archives of Toxicology | Year: 2011

Bitumen (referred to as asphalt in the United States) is a widely used construction material, and emissions from hot bitumen applications have been a long-standing health concern. One objective of the Human Bitumen Study was to identify potential determinants of the exposure to bitumen. The study population analysed comprised 259 male mastic asphalt workers recruited between 2003 and 2008. Personal air sampling in the workers' breathing zone was carried out during the shift to measure exposure to vapours and aerosols of bitumen. The majority of workers were engaged in building construction, where exposure levels were lower than in tunnels but higher than at road construction sites. At building construction sites, exposure levels were influenced by the room size, the processing temperature of the mastic asphalt and the job task. The results show that protective measures should include a reduction in the processing temperature. © 2011 Springer-Verlag. Source

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