Risk Assessment of Workers’ Exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds in the Air of a Petrochemical Complex in Iran

Long-term exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) affects the occupancies health in petrochemical complex. The aim of this study is to apply the lifetime cancer risk (LCR) and hazard quotient (HQ) in occupational exposure to estimate the risk of VOCs in petrochemical complexes.

Settings and Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the petrochemical complex of Iran for a period of 1 year. Sorbent tubes were used to obtain air samples from 169 workers at different petrochemical complexes in southern Iran. The compounds analysed with gas chromatography equipped with a flame ionization detector (FID). The data were analysed by SPSS version 16. Comparison between the mean of pollutants concentration in personal samples was performed by one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) test. For all groups of workers, the results showed that exposure to carcinogenic compounds leads to LCR risks higher than 1 × 10-6. The mean of LCR for benzene is more than 10-4, and 53.3% of workers exposed has a definite risk; the mean of LCR for workers exposed to ethyl benzene, epichlorohydrin, styrene, and trichloroethylene was between 10-4 and 10-6 and workers’ exposure to these compounds was a probability risk for cancer. The mean of HQ was less than 1 for workers exposed to toluene, p-xylene, chlorobenzene, phenol, and methanol. The risk assessment with LCR showed that carcinogenic compounds are the main threat to workers’ health and precautions should be taken to control workers’ risk.

Authors: Shanh FG, Rahimnejad S, Bahrami A, Farhadian M. ; Full Source: Indian Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine. 2017 Sep-Dec;21(3):121-127. doi: 10.4103/ijoem.IJOEM_86_17.

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