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PAH Exposures Among Pitch And Asphalt Roofing Workers.

Reed LD; Liss GM
Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Mechanisms, Methods and Metabolism, Cooke 1985:1089-1095
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure was evaluated among roofing workers (SIC-1761). Old coal tar pitch roofs at site 1 and an asphalt roof at site 2 were removed and new roofs of the same type were applied. During tear off and application operations personal breathing zone and area samples were collected for about 4 hours. Tear off exposures to total particulates, cyclohexane (110827) or benzene (71432) soluble fractions, and PAHs were measured. Application exposures to soluble fractions and PAH were measured. Roofers at both sites completed a questionnaire to elicit symptoms reported over the previous month and symptoms reported on the evaluation day. A limited physical examination was performed. Workers were exposed to 0.1 to 2.3 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) and 0.3 to 1.1mg/m3 benzene or cyclohexane soluble fractions during asphalt and pitch tear off, respectively. Only pitch exposed workers were exposed to significant concentrations of total PAH, approximately 100 micrograms (microg)/m3, and experienced skin and eye irritation. During hot pitch application total airborne PAH exposure was approximately 30microg/m3 and cyclohexane or benzene soluble fraction exposure ranged from 0.2 to 1.2mg/m3. More severe irritation symptoms were reported for workers during hot pitch application than for hot asphalt workers. Factors reported to aggravate symptoms included white race, windy days, and bright days. Skin lesions, including warts, pigmented nevi, squamous keratoses, and multiple epithelial polyps were observed. All 8 roofers with lesions had 3 or more years of employment; 6 of the 19 without lesions worked 2 or more years. The authors conclude that since asphalt fumes are carcinogenic, substances other than PAH may be acting as cocarcinogens.
Exposure-levels; Chemical-analysis; Industrial-chemicals; Airborne-particles; Industrial-environment; Lung-lesions; Health-standards;
110-82-7; 71-43-2;
Publication Date
Cooke M; Dennis AJ;
Fiscal Year
SIC Code
Source Name
Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Mechanisms, Methods and Metabolism, Cooke
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division