• Monitoring OH-PCBs in PCB transport worker's urine as a non-invasive exposure assessment tool.

Monitoring OH-PCBs in PCB transport worker's urine as a non-invasive exposure assessment tool.

Environmental science and pollution research international (2018-04-16)
Yuki Haga, Motoharu Suzuki, Chisato Matsumura, Toshihiro Okuno, Masahiro Tsurukawa, Kazuo Fujimori, Narayanan Kannan, Roland Weber, Takeshi Nakano

In this study, we analyzed hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls (OH-PCBs) in urine of both PCB transport workers and PCB researchers. A method to monitor OH-PCB in urine was developed. Urine was solid-phase extracted with 0.1% ammonia/ methanol (v/v) and glucuronic acid/sulfate conjugates and then decomposed using β-glucuronidase/arylsulfatase. After alkaline digestion/derivatization, the concentration of OH-PCBs was determined by HRGC/HRMS-SIM. In the first sampling campaign, the worker's OH-PCB levels increased several fold after the PCB waste transportation work, indicating exposure to PCBs. The concentration of OH-PCBs in PCB transport workers' urine (0.55~11 μg/g creatinine (Cre)) was higher than in PCB researchers' urine (< 0.20 μg/g Cre). However, also a slight increase of OH-PCBs was observed in the researchers doing the air sampling at PCB storage area. In the second sampling, after recommended PCB exposure reduction measures had been enacted, the worker's PCB levels did not increase during handling of PCB equipment. This suggests that applied safety measures improved the situation. Hydroxylated trichlorobiphenyls (OH-TrCBs) were identified as a major homolog of OH-PCBs in urine. Also, hydroxylated tetrachlorobiphenyls (OH-TeCBs) to hydroxylated hexachlorobiphenyls (OH-HxCBs) were detected. For the sum of ten selected major indicators, a strong correlation to total OH-PCBs were found and these can possibly be used as non-invasive biomarkers of PCB exposure in workers managing PCB capacitors and transformer oils. We suggest that monitoring of OH-PCBs in PCB management projects could be considered a non-invasive way to detect exposure. It could also be used as a tool to assess and improve PCB management. This is highly relevant considering the fact that in the next 10 years, approx. 14 million tons of PCB waste need to be managed. Also, the selected populations could be screened to assess whether exposure at work, school, or home has taken place.