The Use of Polyurethane Foam (PUF) Passive Air Samplers in Exposure Studies to PAHs in Swedish Seafarers

The aim of this study was to test the usefulness of polyurethane foam (PUF) passive air samplers as stationary, and, for the first time, as personal samplers for one week’s sampling period of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in occupational air. Routine monitoring of workplace exposure is commonly performed with active sampling. However, active samplers can sometimes be unsuitable; e.g., it is difficult to make time-integrated measurements, longer than one day, and they can be noisy and obstructive. Indoor air quality on ships is an important aspect of the environment which has not been studied extensively on ships. For seafarers, good indoor air quality becomes particularly important as the ship represents both a working and living environment. In this study, measurements were carried out on two occasions on two different ships, at different workplaces, and for various personnel categories. On each ship, measurements were performed before and after a change of the type of fuel that the ships were operating on. We found a considerable wide range of PAHs exposure levels for the various workplaces and personnel categories on the ships. The stationary measurements, sum 32 PAHs, ranged from 33- 39,000 ng m 3 and the personal exposure measurements ranged from 61- 8,400 ng m 3. The results point to that the content of PAHs in the fuel can affect the indoor air environment on the entire ship. Further, the results demonstrate that the PUF sampler can serve as a simple and usable screening tool for estimating and tracking point sources of PAHs in microenvironments. Moreover, this study contributes to increased knowledge of exposure to and sources of PAHs for seafarers.

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