Personal exposures to airborne metals in London taxi drivers and office workers in 1995 and 1996

Sci Total Environ. 1999 Sep 1;235(1-3):253-60. doi: 10.1016/s0048-9697(99)00201-6.


In 1995, a petroleum marketer introduced a diesel fuel additive in the UK containing Mn as MMT (methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl). A small study of personal exposures to airborne Mn in London was conducted before and after introduction of the additive to identify any major impact of the additive on exposures. In 1995, personal exposures to Mn were measured in two groups, taxi drivers and office workers (10 subjects per group) for two consecutive 7-day periods. A similar study was carried out in 1996 to determine if exposures had changed. Samples were also analyzed for Ca, Al, Mg and Pb. In 1996, exposures to aerosol mass as total suspended particulates (TSP) and PM2.5 were measured in addition to the metals. Manganese exposures in this cohort did not increase as a result of introduction of the additive. However, a significant source of Mn exposure was discovered during the conduct of these tests. The mean exposure to Mn was higher among the office workers in both years than that of the taxi drivers. This was due to the fact that approximately half of the office workers commuted via the underground railway system where airborne dust and metal concentrations are significantly elevated over those in the general environment. Similar results have been noted in other cities having underground rail systems. Exposure to Mn, Pb, Ca, and Mg were not significantly different between the 2 years. Taxi drivers had higher exposures than office workers to Mg and Pb in both years. Commuting via the underground also had a significant impact on exposures to TSP, PM2.5, Al, and Ca, but had little effect on exposures to Mg. The aerosol in the underground was particularly enriched in Mn, approximately 10-fold, when compared to the aerosol in the general environment. There are several possible sources for this Mn, including mechanical wear of the steel wheels on the steel rais, vaporization of metal from sparking of the third rail, or brake wear.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis
  • Automobile Driving
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dust / adverse effects
  • Dust / analysis
  • Humans
  • London
  • Manganese / adverse effects
  • Manganese / analysis
  • Metals / adverse effects*
  • Metals / analysis
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Petroleum
  • Railroads


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Dust
  • Metals
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Petroleum
  • 2-methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl
  • Manganese