Relation between biomarkers in exhaled breath condensate and internal exposure to metals from gas metal arc welding

Concerning possible harmful components of welding fumes, besides gases and quantitative aspects of the respirable welding fumes, particle-inherent metal toxicity has to be considered. The present study investigated the effect markers leukotriene B4 (LTB4), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and 8-isoprostane (8-Iso PGF2R) as well as the acid-base balance (pH) in exhaled breath condensate (EBC) of 43 full-time gas metal arc welders (20 smokers) in relation to welding fume exposure. The authors observed different patterns of iron, chromium and nickel in respirable welding fumes and EBC. Welders with undetectable chromium in EBC (group A, n ) 24) presented high iron and nickel concentrations. In this group, higher 8-iso PGF2R and LTB4 concentrations could be revealed compared to welders with detectable chromium and low levels of both iron and nickel in EBC (group B): 8-iso PGF2R 443.3 pg mL-1 vs. 247.2 pg mL-1; p ) 0.001 and LTB4 30.5 pg mL-1 versus 17.3 pg mL-1; p ) 0.016. EBC-pH was more acid in samples of group B (6.52 vs. 6.82; p ) 0.011). Overall, effect markers in welders were associated with iron concentrations in EBC according to smoking habits-non-smokers/smokers: LTB4 (rs ) 0.48; p ) 0.02/rs) 0.21; p ) 0.37), PGE2 (rs ) 0.15; p ) 0.59/rs ) 0.47; p ) 0.07), 8-iso PGF2R (rs ) 0.18; p ) 0.54/rs ) 0.59; p ) 0.06). the Sampling of EBC in occupational research provides a matrix for the simultaneous monitoring of metal exposure and effects on target level. The authors concluded that the r4esults from this study suggest irritative effects in the airways of healthy welders. Further studies are necessary to assess whether these individual results might be used to identify welders at elevated risk for developing a respiratory disease.

Authors: Hoffmeyer, Frank; Raulf-Heimsoth, Monika; Weiss, Tobias; Lehnert, Martin; Gawrych, Katarzyna; Kendzia, Benjamin; Harth, Volker; Henry, Jana; Pesch, Beate; Bruening, Thomas ;Full Source: Journal of Breath Research 2012, 6(2), 027105/1-027105/8 (English) ;