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Non-occupational exposure to heavy metals of the residents of an industrial area and biomonitoring

Vimercati, Luigi, Baldassarre, Antonio, Gatti, Maria F, Gagliardi, Tommaso, Serinelli, Maria, De Maria, Luigi, Caputi, Antonio, Dirodi, Angelica A, Galise, Ida, Cuccaro, Francesco, Assennato, Giorgio
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2016 v.188 no.12 pp. 673
arsenic, cadmium, chromium, environmental exposure, environmental monitoring, heavy metals, lead, lifestyle, manganese, metabolites, pollutants, questionnaires, risk, urine, Italy
In areas at high environmental risk, a major issue is the assessment of the exposure of the general population to industrial pollutants. To date, few studies have investigated exposure to heavy metals in a population residing in a high risk environmental area. The aim of this study is to evaluate the exposure to heavy metals in the industrial area of Taranto, Southern Italy, through biological monitoring techniques. We measured the levels of inorganic arsenic and methylated metabolites, lead, cadmium, chromium, and manganese in the urine samples of 279 subjects residing in Taranto and neighboring areas. After obtaining informed consent from each participant, qualified health staff administered a standardized structured questionnaire investigating lifestyle habits and assessing any confounding factors. The biological monitoring data showed high urinary concentrations of nearly all of the heavy metals investigated. These findings could be related to the presence of industrial plants and is sufficient to warrant the expectation that local and national institutions should be required to adopt preventive measures to reduce the environmental exposure of the general population to heavy metals.