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Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Jul 16;47(14):7773-9. doi: 10.1021/es4016475. Epub 2013 Jun 26.

Occupational exposure to polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans, dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls, and polychlorinated naphthalenes in workplaces of secondary nonferrous metallurgical facilities in China.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences , P.O. Box 2871, Beijing 100085, China.

Abstract

The concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (dl-PCBs), and polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs) were determined in workplace air from eight secondary nonferrous metal processing plants to investigate occupational exposure to these toxic compounds. The total estimated daily intakes of PCDD/Fs and dl-PCBs for workers by inhalation in the workplace were in the range of 0.15-9.91 and 0.13-8.59 pg of WHO-TEQ/kg of body weight (bw) for moderate and light activities, respectively. The daily inhalation doses for workers in the workplaces of three investigated plants exceeded the tolerable daily intake recommended by the World Health Organization. These results indicate that the risk of occupational exposure to dioxins by inhalation in the workplace of plants investigated was considerably high. For PCNs, the daily inhalation doses for workers in the workplace were in the range of 0.005-4.46 and 0.004-3.87 pg of TEQ/kg of bw for moderate and light activities, respectively, which were lower than those of dioxins. To identify the source of PCDD/Fs, PCBs, and PCNs in workplace air, their homologue profiles were compared with those in stack gas from the plants investigated. It was found that significant dioxin contamination in workplace air was mainly attributed to the emission of fugitive gas from smelting furnaces during reclamation processes.

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