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Petrol filling workers as biomonitor of PAH exposure and functional health capacity in resource-limited settings of city Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Rashid, Audil, Tao, Shu, Uddin, Ikhtiar, Kamal, Atif
Environmental science and pollution research international 2017 v.24 no.21 pp. 17881-17887
acidity, anemia, appetite, eyes, gasoline, gloves, indicator species, mouth, muscle fatigue, naphthalene, occupational health and safety, pain, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pumps, questionnaires, risk, skin lesions, sleep disorders, smoking (habit), surveys, syncope, work schedules, Pakistan
This is the first study from Pakistan to report the exposure of petrol filling workers (n = 120) to naphthalene (Nap) and pyrene (Pyr) in relation to their functional capacities and health outcome. A group of non-exposed subjects (controls n = 46) was also recruited for comparison. The perceived health risk of the exposed workers was monitored using a questionnaire based on the self-reporting survey. The observed physical anomalies related to the health disorder included the acidity after meals, eye redness, appetite loss, skin lesions, and dryness of oral cavity, while those related to neurasthenic symptoms included the body aches, energy loss, twitching, fatigue, sleeplessness, fainting, and irritability. Mean Nap level observed in the exposed group (106 μg L⁻¹) was significantly correlated (r = 0.49; p < 0.01) with cigarette smoking, while the average Pyr concentration (19.18 μg L⁻¹) was associated with job duration. Workers exposed for 6 h per day or more had significantly high prevalence of physical disorders (OR = 2.79, 95% CI = 1.28–6.09). Neurasthenic symptoms were found in 65% of the subjects and were associated with years of involvement in job. Ten years or more work duration at petrol pumps could be associated with a substantial development of neurasthenic effects (OR = 2.80, 95% CI = 1.23–6.34). In conclusion, the subjects ascribed the disturbances in physical and neurological behavior to their occupation (petrol filling) and also rated their overall health and functional capacity as poor. To promote health of petrol pump workers, reduction in work hours and provision of masks and gloves could be introduced as occupational health interventions.