Hazardous airborne carbonyls emissions in industrial workplaces in China.

A pilot hazardous airborne carbonyls study was carried out in Hong Kong and the Mainland of China. Workplace air samples in 14 factories of various types of manufacturing and industrial operations were collected and analyzed for a panel of 21 carbonyl compounds. The factories can be classified into five general categories, including food processing, electroplating, textile dyeing, chemical manufacturer, and petroleum refinery. Formaldehyde was invariably the most abundant carbonyl compound among all the workplace air samples, accounting for 22.0-44.0% of the total measured amount of carbonyls on a molar basis. Acetone was also found to be an abundant carbonyl in workplace settings; among the selected industrial sectors, chemical manufacturers' workplaces had the highest percentage (an average of 42.6%) of acetone in the total amount of carbonyls measured in air. Benzaldehyde accounted for an average of 20.5% of the total amount of detected carbonyls in electroplating factories, but its contribution was minor in other industrial workplaces. Long-chain aliphatic carbonyls (C6-C10) accounted for a large portion (37.2%) of the total carbonyls in food-processing factories. Glyoxal and methylglyoxal existed at variable levels in the selected workplaces, ranging from 0.2% to 5.5%. The mixing ratio of formaldehyde ranged from 8.6 to 101.2 ppbv in the sampled workplaces. The observed amount of formaldehyde in two paint and wax manufacturers and food-processing factories exceeded the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guideline of 81.8 ppbv. Carcinogenic risks of chronic exposure to formaldehyde and acetaldehyde by the workers were evaluated. The lifetime cancer hazard risks associated with formaldehyde exposure to male and female workers ranged from 2.01 x 10(-5) to 2.37 x 10(-4) and 2.68 x 10(-5) to 3.16 x 10(-4), respectively. Such elevated risk values suggest that the negative health impact of formaldehyde exposure represents a valid concern, and proper actions should be taken to protect workers from such risks.
Many carbonyl species (e.g., formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein) are air toxins and they pose public healt risks. The scope of this investigation covers 21 types of carbonyls based on samples collected from 14 different workplaces. Findings of the study will not only provide a comprehensive assessment of indoor air quality with regard to workers' healthy and safety, but also establish a theoretical foundation for future formulation of intervention strategies to reduce occupational carbonyl exposures. No similar study has been carried out either in Hong Kong or the Mainland of China.
AuthorsSteven Sai Hang Ho, Ho Sai Simon Ip, Kin Fai Ho, Louisa Pan Ting Ng, Chi Sing Chan, Wen Ting Dai, Jun Ji Cao
JournalJournal of the Air & Waste Management Association (1995) (J Air Waste Manag Assoc) Vol. 63 Issue 7 Pg. 864-77 (Jul 2013) ISSN: 1096-2247 [Print] United States
PMID23926855 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't)
Chemical References
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Aldehydes
  • Ketones
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational (analysis)
  • Air Pollution, Indoor (analysis)
  • Aldehydes (analysis)
  • China
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Ketones (analysis)
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure

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