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Internal exposure to organic substances in a municipal waste incinerator

  • J. Angerer
  • B. Heinzow
  • D. O. Reimann
  • W. Knorz
  • G. Lehnert
Original Articles

Summary

Fifty-three persons occupied in a municipal waste incinerator were examined with respect to their internal exposure to organic substances which may be produced during pyrolysis of organic matter. For this purpose the levels of benzene in blood, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) in plasma, and mono- (MCPs), di- (DCPs), tri- (TCPs), tetra-(TECPs) and pentachlorophenol (PCP) and hydroxypyrene in urine were determined. For control purposes, 431 men and women were examined. Significantly higher values for the workers were found for the excretion of hydroxypyrene [median (m): 0.24vs 0.11 μg/l; non-smokers], 2,4/2,5-DCP (m: 10.5 vs 3.9 μg/l) and 2,4,5-TCP (m: 1.2 vs 0.8 μg/l) and for the HCB level in plasma (m: 4.4 vs 2.8 μg/l). For the concentrations of 4-MCP and 2,3,4,6/2,3,5,6-TECP, the controls had significantly higher concentrations in urine than did the workers in the incineration plant (m: 4-MCP 1.7 vs 1.2; 2,3,4,6/2,3,5,6-TECP: 1.2 vs 0.3 μg/l). No significant differences between workers and controls were detected with respect to benzene in blood (m: 0.20 vs 0.28 μg/l; non-smokers), 2,4,6-TCP and PCPs in urine (m: 0.85 vs 0.60 and 2.2 vs 2.2 μg/l) or the levels of PCB congeners in plasma (m: Σ 138, 153, 180: 5.6 vs 4.1 μg/l). The elevated levels of hydroxypyrene, 2,4/2,5-DCP, 2,4,5-TCP and HCB in biological material may be related to the incineration of the waste. These elevations, however, are very small and are of interest more from the environmental than from the occupational point of view.

Key words

Municipal waste incinerator Benzene Polychlorinated biphenyls Hydroxypyrene Hexachlorobenzene Chlorophenols 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Angerer
    • 1
  • B. Heinzow
    • 2
  • D. O. Reimann
    • 3
  • W. Knorz
    • 4
  • G. Lehnert
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Arbeits- und Sozialmedizin der UniversitätErlangen-NürnbergGermany
  2. 2.Umwelttoxikologische Untersuchungsstelle des Landes Schleswig HolsteinKielGermany
  3. 3.Zweckverband MüllheizkraftwerkBambergGermany
  4. 4.Berufsgenossenschaftlicher Arbeitsmedizinischer DienstLichtenfelsGermany

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