Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 21, pp 17881–17887 | Cite as

Petrol filling workers as biomonitor of PAH exposure and functional health capacity in resource-limited settings of city Rawalpindi, Pakistan

  • Audil RashidEmail author
  • Shu Tao
  • Ikhtiar Uddin
  • Atif Kamal
Research Article


This is the first study from Pakistan to report the exposure of petrol filling workers (n = 120) to naphthalene (Nap) and pyrene (Pyr) in relation to their functional capacities and health outcome. A group of non-exposed subjects (controls n = 46) was also recruited for comparison. The perceived health risk of the exposed workers was monitored using a questionnaire based on the self-reporting survey. The observed physical anomalies related to the health disorder included the acidity after meals, eye redness, appetite loss, skin lesions, and dryness of oral cavity, while those related to neurasthenic symptoms included the body aches, energy loss, twitching, fatigue, sleeplessness, fainting, and irritability. Mean Nap level observed in the exposed group (106 μg L−1) was significantly correlated (r = 0.49; p < 0.01) with cigarette smoking, while the average Pyr concentration (19.18 μg L−1) was associated with job duration. Workers exposed for 6 h per day or more had significantly high prevalence of physical disorders (OR = 2.79, 95% CI = 1.28–6.09). Neurasthenic symptoms were found in 65% of the subjects and were associated with years of involvement in job. Ten years or more work duration at petrol pumps could be associated with a substantial development of neurasthenic effects (OR = 2.80, 95% CI = 1.23–6.34). In conclusion, the subjects ascribed the disturbances in physical and neurological behavior to their occupation (petrol filling) and also rated their overall health and functional capacity as poor. To promote health of petrol pump workers, reduction in work hours and provision of masks and gloves could be introduced as occupational health interventions.


Occupational health Exposure assessment Risk analysis Biomonitoring 


Compliance with ethical standards

The study was approved from the ethical review board of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, and every step of sampling and survey was documented. The presampling consent of each donor of the sample was documented, and the subjects were fully explained regarding the objectives, outcomes, and possible use of the samples and analysis. The documentation and personal information of each participant in this study were subjected to the ethics of confidentiality.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017
corrected publication July/2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Audil Rashid
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shu Tao
    • 2
  • Ikhtiar Uddin
    • 1
  • Atif Kamal
    • 1
  1. 1.EcoHealth Research Group, Department of Environmental SciencesPir Mehr Ali Shah, Arid Agriculture UniversityRawalpindiPakistan
  2. 2.College of Urban and Environmental SciencesPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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