Keywords: EBC, exhaled breath condensate, APM, air particulate matter, heavy metals, lead, PM25, PM10, risk assessment, human biomonitoring, INAA, instrumental neutron activation analysis, PIXE, particle induced X-ray emission, TXRF, total reflection X-ray fluorescence, air pollution, air quality, risk assessment, worker exposure
Using the exhaled breath condensate as a tool for non-invasive evaluation of pollutant exposure
The aim of the present study was to investigate whether Exhaled Breath Condensate (EBC) can be employed for a better risk assessment among human exposure to heavy metals. The objective was to develop a human bioindicator to be applicable for professional exposure that, compared with other common indicators, presents important advantages: it is non-invasive and it is easily and quickly collected. EBC was sampled in industrial workers and in a control group consisting of healthy volunteers working in offices. Heavy metal concentrations in EBC were determined by Total Reflection X-Ray Fluorescence (TXRF) in parallel low-volume samplers, and the techniques Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) and Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) were used to characterise air particulate matter in the factory and in the offices. Results revealed that Pb and Cu were significantly higher in industrial workers EBC, raising the possibility of using this new matrix in occupational settings in order to assess the workers' exposure to toxic agents.