Occupational exposure to particles and biomarkers of cardiovascular disease-during work and after vacation

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2022 Sep;95(7):1537-1548. doi: 10.1007/s00420-022-01900-5. Epub 2022 Jul 11.


Objective: Ambient particle matter is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, little is known about associations between particles in occupational settings and risk of CVD. We investigated associations between occupational dust exposure and biomarkers of CVD, and potential recovery effects after vacation.

Methods: Personal dust exposure measurements (respirable silica, respirable dust < 4 µm, and particles of 0.1-10 µm (PM 0.1-10) were conducted once, and biological sampling were performed twice on non-smoking, male construction workers in Stockholm county, Sweden; during work and immediately after summer vacation. Linear regressions with adjustments for confounders and covariates were performed evaluating associations between occupational dust exposure and biomarkers. Paired t tests were performed evaluating changes before and after vacation.

Results: Sixty-five workers participated. Homocysteine concentrations were significantly higher with increasing concentrations (mg/m3) of respirable silica, respirable dust, and PM 0.1-10, and pulse rate with higher levels of respirable dust and dust of PM 0.1-10. Homocysteine levels were also positively correlated to number of years of dust exposure, as were low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. A clear recovery effect was present for LDL after vacation, but not for homocysteine.

Conclusions: Occupational dust exposure was associated with some CVD risk markers, even at mean exposure concentrations below the Swedish occupational exposure limits for respirable silica and respirable dust, respectively. Vacation resulted in recovery for some risk markers. However, the change of the homocysteine and LDL levels suggest a long-term effect. Reduction of occupational exposure to dust may decrease the risk of CVD among exposed workers.

Keywords: Cardiovascular risk markers; Construction industry; Longitudinal measures; Occupational exposure; Particles; Respirable silica.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational*
  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Dust
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Homocysteine
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Silicon Dioxide


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Biomarkers
  • Dust
  • Homocysteine
  • Silicon Dioxide