| ORIGINAL ARTICLE
|Year : 2005 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 98-103
Arsenic burden survey among refuse incinerator workers
Chung-Liang Chao, KC Hwang
Taipei Hospital, Department of Health, Taiwan
Background: Incinerator workers are not considered to have arsenic overexposure although they have the risk of overexposure to other heavy metals.
Aim: To examine the relationship between arsenic burden and risk of occupational exposure in employees working at a municipal refuse incinerator by determining the concentrations of arsenic in the blood and urine.
Settings and Design: The workers were divided into three groups based on their probability of contact with combustion-generated residues, namely Group 1: indirect contact, Group 2: direct contact and Group 3: no contact. Healthy age- and sex-matched residents living in the vicinity were enrolled as the control group.
Materials and Methods: Heavy metal concentrations were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Downstream rivers and drinking water of the residents were examined for environmental arsenic pollution. A questionnaire survey concerning the contact history of arsenic was simultaneously conducted. Statistical analysis: Non-parametric tests, cross-tabulation and multinomial logistic regression.
Results: This study recruited 122 incinerator workers. The urine and blood arsenic concentrations as well as incidences of overexposure were significantly higher in the workers than in control subjects. The workers who had indirect or no contact with combustion-generated residues had significantly higher blood arsenic level. Arsenic contact history could not explain the difference. Airborne and waterborne arsenic pollution were not detected.
Conclusion: Incinerator workers run the risk of being exposed to arsenic pollution, especially those who have incomplete protection in the workplace even though they only have indirect or no contact with combustion-generated pollutants.
Taipei Hospital, Department of Health
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
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