The chemical risk in service stations may be due to toxic compounds present in fuel (particularly benzene and additives) and to the emission of exhausts and fine particulate from vehicles. Owing to the elimination of lead (Pb) from fuel and to the necessity of lowering CO emission, several oxigenated additives have been added to fuel, in particular methyl-tert-butil-ether (MTBE), whose toxic properties are at present under investigation. The introduction of reformulated gasoline (RFG) and the use of catalytic converters (with possible release of platinum (Pt) in the environment) may have modified the risks for workers employed in service stations. The paper shows data collected from 26 subjects (divided into three specific tasks, namely: fuel dispenser, "self-service" attendant and controller, and cashier) to estimate the actual chemical risk and to compare it with the previous data taken from literature. For this purpose, besides performing the usual medical surveillance, we measured the environmental concentrations of benzene, MTBE and formaldehyde, the urinary levels of benzene metabolites S-phenylmercapturic acid (S-PMA) and t,t-muconic acid (MA) and of unmodified MTBE, and the blood concentrations of Pb and Pt for each subject. Mean values of these compounds were, respectively: 38.81 μg/m 3; 174.04 μg/m 3; 10.38 μg/m 3; 2.36 μg/g creatinine; 96.57 μg/g creatinine; 1.41 μg/L; 7.00 μg/100 mL; 0.0738 ng/ ml. The above values were much lower than the corresponding limit values reported by ACGIH and DFG. In particular, after the introduction of vapour recycle systems and the widespread use of "self-service" systems, airborne benzene concentration dropped from 300/400 μg/m 3 to lower than 100 μg/m 3, without noticeable increasing of exposure to formaldehyde. The disappearing of Pb from gasoline leads to a progressive lowering of its blood levels, while the possible risks due to the very low amounts of Pt released from catalytic converters have still to be defined exactly. Taken all in all, our results seem to indicate that, after the elimination of tetraethyl lead, the chemical risk for workers employed in service stations is now lower than in the past.
|Translated title of the contribution||The significance of environmental and biological monitoring in workers employed in service stations after the elimination of tetraethyl lead from gasoline|
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Giornale Italiano di Medicina del Lavoro ed Ergonomia|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2005|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health