NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

DNA strand breaks, oxidative damage, and 1-OH pyrene in roofers with coal-tar pitch dust and/or asphalt fume exposure.

Toraason MA; Hayden C; Marlow D; Rinehart R; Mathias P; Werren D; DeBord DG; Reid TM
Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2001 Aug; 74(6):396-404
OBJECTIVE: To determine the potential for asphalt fume exposure to increase DNA damage, we conducted a cross-sectional study of roofers involved in the application of roofing asphalt. METHODS: DNA strand breaks and the ratio of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) to 2-deoxyguanosine (dG) were measured in peripheral blood leukocytes of roofers. In addition, urinary excretion of 8-OHdG and 8-epi-prostaglandin F2alpha (8-epi-PGF) was also measured. The study population consisted of 26 roofers exposed to roofing asphalt and 15 construction workers not exposed to asphalt during the past 5 years. A subset of asphalt roofers (n = 19) was exposed to coal-tar pitch dust (coal tar) during removal of existing roofs prior to applying hot asphalt. Personal air monitoring was performed for one work-week to measure exposure to total particulates, benzene-soluble fraction of total particulates, and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs). Urinary 1-OH-pyrene levels were measured as an internal biomarker of PAC exposure. RESULTS: Full-shift breathing zone measurements for total particulates, benzene-solubles and PACs were significantly higher for coal-tar exposed workers than for roofers not exposed to coal tar. Similarly, urinary 1-OH-pyrene levels were higher in coal-tar exposed roofers than roofers not exposed to coal tar. Total particulates or benzene-soluble fractions were not associated with urinary 1-OH-pyrene, but PAC exposure was highly correlated with urinary 1-OH-pyrene. When stratified by 1-OH-pyrene excretion, DNA strand breaks increased in a dose-dependent manner, and leukocyte 8-OHdG/dG decreased in a dose-dependent manner. Significant changes in DNA damage appeared to be linked to PACs from coal-tar exposure, although asphalt fume alone was associated with a small but significant increase in urinary 1-OH-pyrene and DNA strand breaks. CONCLUSIONS: Results are consistent with previous reports that asphalt or coal-tar exposure can cause DNA damage. Urinary 8-epi-PGF remained relatively constant during the week for virtually all subjects, regardless of exposure indicating that neither asphalt nor coal-tar exposure induces an overt oxidative stress. A small, but statistically significant increase in 8OHdG was evident in end-of-week urine samples compared with start-of-week urine samples in roofers exposed to coal-tar. The increase in urinary 8OHdG coupled with the decrease in leukocyte 8-OHdG/dG, suggests that coal-tar exposure induces protective or repair mechanisms that result in reduced levels of steady-state oxidative-DNA damage.
DNA-damage; Oxidative-processes; Coal-tar-pitch; Asphalt-fumes; Exposure-levels; Roofers; Roofing-and-sheet-metal-work; Roofing-industry;
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226, USA
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Internatinal Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division