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Biomonitoring and exposure assessment of people living near or working at an Italian waste incinerator: methodology of the SPoTT study


Only few studies on the health effect of waste incinerators were focused on human biomonitoring (HBM). Our aim is to describe a protocol for assessing early variation of selected items in a population group living close to a waste incinerator in Turin, Italy. A cohort of 394 subjects was randomly selected, among residents near the incinerator and residents far from it. To achieve this sample size, 765 subjects were contacted. The cohort was monitored before the start-up of the plant and will be followed up 1 and 3 years after, with measurements of respiratory function, selected blood and urine parameters including 19 metals, 17 congeners of PCDDs/Fs, 12 congeners of DL-PCBs, 30 congeners of NDL-PCBs, 11 OH-PAHs, specific hormones (T3, T4, TSH, cortisol and ACTH) and common health parameters. The same protocol is applied for plant workers and breeders living near the plant. Individual exposure to urban pollution and waste incinerator fallout were assessed through the use of mathematical models. Information on individual habits was assessed using a specific questionnaire. SPoTT is the first Italian study that adopts a longitudinal design of appropriate statistical power to assess health impacts of waste incinerator plants’ emission. The initial results comparing the baseline to the first follow-up are due at the end of 2016.

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  1. Forecasting model for PCB and PCDD/F is very similar.


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The authors thank members of the Scientific Committee, Silvia Candela, Benedetto Terracini and Francesco Forastiere as well as the whole working group that assisted the SPoTT study.

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Correspondence to Antonella Bena.

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The SPoTT study is supported by a financial grant from the Province of Turin (resolution n. 409-18423/2014 of 06/06/2014). The Province of Turin had no role in the design of the study, interpretation of the results or writing of the paper.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

SPoTT has received approval from the relevant local ethical committee. All subjects involved are required to undersign an informed consensus form.

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Bena, A., Orengia, M., Cadum, E. et al. Biomonitoring and exposure assessment of people living near or working at an Italian waste incinerator: methodology of the SPoTT study. Environ Monit Assess 188, 607 (2016).

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  • Waste incinerator
  • Biomonitoring
  • Metals
  • PCDD/F
  • PAH