Automotive painting cabins are cleaned with several solvents, being great part of them mixtures of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), where the three xylene isomers are the most important constituents. To evaluate the work-related exposition of the cleaners that use these mixtures of solvents, xylenes have been determined in the working ambient air as well as its metabolite,
o-m-p-methyl hippuric acid, has been analysed in urine to establish the dermal and respiratory exposition. This evaluation has been done in order to assess the occupational exposure to VOCs and to know the working conditions of the cleaners, but also to evaluate the effectiveness of personal protective equipment (PPE), the engineering control and the work practices.
The xylenes have been chosen as indicators of exposition because they are the main components in the cleaning solvents used, with a level of concentration between 50% and 85%.
The Xylenes have an occupational exposure limit (8 h TWA) of 50 ppm (221 mg/m3) and a short-term exposure limit (STEL) of 100 ppm (442 mg/m3). On the other hand, the biological exposure index (BEI) for xylenes is the sum of the total methyl hippuric acids in urine at the end of the work-shift, being the value 1500 mg/g creatinine.
CitationRosell, M.; Carrasco, A.; Gallego, E. Evaluation of work-related volatile organic compounds (VOCs) exposition in automotive painting cabins industrial cleanings. A: Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Society of Chromatography. "IX Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Society of Chromatography". 2010.
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