Organic solvents (OS) are widely used in Tunisian footwear industry; however, there are no data related to employees’ exposure. The objective of this study was therefore to adjust analytical methods in our laboratory for exposure assessment purposes. The predominant solvents are acetone, cyclohexane, hexane, methyl ethyl ketone, and toluene. Eighteen companies benefited from 55 airborne and 190 urine samples. Quantification of solvents and their metabolites was achieved by analytical methods that were adapted and validated in our laboratory. Airborne solvents were determined using gas chromatography (GC-FID). Urinary solvents or metabolites were measured either by GC or high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Validation criteria were determined and used to judge the methods reliability. For airborne solvents, the concentrations exceeding the threshold limit value are mainly for hexane. For urines, the hippuric acid concentrations exceeded the biological limit value in semi-industrial process. Surprisingly, trans, trans-muconic acid was found in industrial and artisanal processes even though benzene was not among the used products. GC and HPLC methods have been adjusted, optimized, and effectively used to quantify OS and their metabolites in airborne and urine samples. Thus, a process of occupational risk assessment via a biotoxicological and airborne monitoring for solvents is now set.
Part of the book: Standards, Methods and Solutions of Metrology
The use of chlorinated solvents in dry cleaning poses risks to human health. The occupational health exposure assessment to these volatile chemicals is conducted through quantification of airborne concentrations inside the facilities. Indeed, the lack of such measurements in Tunisia pushed us to conduct the study. After identifying dry cleaners in Sfax city, we conducted door-to-door canvassing in 47 facilities. Then, the levels of perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) in the indoor air are measured in two sampling positions: fixed and individual. The pollutants are adsorbed with charcoal sorbent tubes where their amounts correspond to given air volumes that are suctioned through the pump. It is later used to calculate their mean concentrations. These solvents are desorbed using carbon disulfide and analyzed by gas chromatography—flame ionization detection. After the analytical validation of the protocol, 19 air samples were quantified. The measured concentrations of TCE are close to the occupational exposure limit value in almost all facilities, whereas the PCE concentrations are about half of the OELV. The overall results showed that the working environment in dry cleaning in Sfax city are concerning and can lead to many adverse health effects up to several types of cancers.
Part of the book: Solvents, Ionic Liquids and Solvent Effects