Human biomonitoring health surveillance for metals near a waste-to-energy incinerator: The 1-year post-operam study

Chemosphere. 2019 Jun;225:839-848. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.03.041. Epub 2019 Mar 9.


This human biomonitoring (HBM) follow-up survey, within the SPoTT project, assessed the temporal and spatial trends of exposure to 18 metals in a cohort living around the waste-to-energy (WTE) incinerator of Turin (Italy) before (T0, 2013) and after 1-year of plant activity (T1, 2014). Urine of 380 adult individuals (186 exposed and 194 unexposed subjects, classified on fallout maps) were analyzed by sector field inductively coupled mass spectrometry. A decrease trend of the majority of metals in all subjects indicates that the overall air quality of the studied sites was not significantly compromised, also in proximity of the WTE plant, as corroborated also by air monitoring data of the regional agency. The only relevant exception was the higher Cr levels found at T1 than T0 in exposed subjects, suggesting a possible contribution from the WTE plant. Chromium, Mn and Pt urine levels were also higher in the site far from the WTE, in relation to other sources as vehicular traffic, industrial and civil activities. Whilst, As and Cd were influenced by fish intake and tobacco smoke. A very small number of individuals at T1, equally distributed in both areas, exceeded the health-based guidance values and so, at current knowledge, living near the Turin incineration did not significantly influence the exposure status of the population.

Keywords: Exposure assessment; Follow-up human biomonitoring (HBM); Health based guidance values (HBGVs); Metals; Waste-to-energy (WTE) incinerator.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chromium / urine*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Health Impact Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Incineration*
  • Italy
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metals / analysis*
  • Metals / urine
  • Recycling
  • Young Adult


  • Metals
  • Chromium