Keywords: biomarkers, health risks, human biomonitoring, waste incinerators, occupational exposure, worker exposure, toxicity, epidemiological study design, environmental monitoring, DNA damage, oxidative stress, fly ash
Human biomonitoring to define occupational exposure and health risks in waste incinerator plants
A contribution to the research on the relationship between exposure to ambient pollutants and diseases comes from human biomonitoring data collection and interpretation. The 21 biomonitoring studies reviewed are mainly aimed at providing either information on exposure amongst worker subgroups, serving as a reference, or information on the relationship between exposure and toxicity. Attention was also paid to the relationship between internal biomarker dose and environmental pollution levels through a combined use of biomonitoring epidemiological study design and environmental monitoring. Marker levels of internal dose (in blood and urine), DNA damage and oxidative stress tend to be higher mostly in highly exposed workers, i.e. those employed in furnace maintenance, residue transfer, cleaning operations, metal disposal and all activities where there is direct contact with fly ash. The presence of old furnaces or non-upgraded plants was associated with acute and chronic health problems in workers.