Objective: This study evaluates individual airborne exposure to gaseous and particulate carcinogenic pollutants in a group of policemen working close to traffic in the center of Grenoble, France.
Methods: Sixty-two personal active air samples were collected during the workshifts of eight policemen in summer and in winter during the occurrence of the thermal inversion phenomenon. Seventeen stationary air samples were monitored in the policemen's work area during the same period with the same sampling devices as used for the personal samples. The respirable particle concentration was determined using the gravimetric method. The concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and aldehydes were measured with high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorimetric or ultraviolet detection. The benzene-toluene-xylene levels were determined with gas chromatography with flame ionization detection.
Results: The median concentration of the personal samples for respirable particles was 55.5 microg/m3 in the summer and 124 microg/m3 in the winter. The corresponding values were 0.10 and 0.28 ng/m3 for benzo(a)pyrene, 14 and 21 microg/m3 for formaldehyde, and 10.5 and 23.5 microg/m3 for benzene. The median personal concentrations were equal to or higher than the corresponding stationary levels for both seasons. Compared with the concentration of aldehydes, the concentrations of respirable particles, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and benzene-toluene-xylene appeared to show higher individual variability.
Conclusions: The occupational exposure of policemen does not exceed any currently applicable occupational or medical exposure limits. Individual particulate levels should preferably be monitored in Grenoble in winter to avoid underestimations.