Exposure to PCBs, through inhalation, dermal contact and dust ingestion at Taizhou, China – A major site for recycling transformers

The present study collected air samples containing gaseous and particulate phases from e-waste workplaces and residential areas of an intensive e-waste recycling area and compared them with a reference site. The highest total concentration of PCBs was detected at transformer recycling workshops (17.6 ng m-3), followed by the residential area (3.37 ng m-3) at Taizhou, and the lowest was obtained at the residential area of the reference site, Lin’an (0.46 ng m-3). The same trend was also observed with regards to PCB levels in dust samples. The highest average PCBs level of 2824 ng g-1 (dry wt) was found in the transformer recycling workshops, and was significantly higher than that of residential areas of Taizhou (572 ng g-1 dry wt) and Lin’an (42.4 ng g-1 dry wt). WHO-PCB-TEQ level in the workshops of Taizhou was 2216 pg TEQ1998 g-1 dry wt or 2159 pg TEQ2005 g-1 dry wt, due to the high abundance of PCB 126 (21.5 ng g-1 dry wt), which contributed 97% or 99% of WHO-PCB-TEQs. The estimated intake of PCBs via dust ingestion and dermal absorption by transformer recycling workers were 77.5 x 10-5 and 36.0 x 10-5 pg WHO-PCBTEQ1998 kg-1 d-1, and 67.3 x 10-5 and 31.3 x 10-5 pg WHO-PCBTEQ2005 kg-1 d-1, respectively.

Authors: Xing, Guan Hua; Liang, Ying; Chen, Ling Xuan; Wu, Sheng Chun; Wong, Ming Hung ;Full Source: Chemosphere 2011, 83(4), 605-611 (Eng) ;