Biological and environmental monitoring of exposure to airborne benzene and other aromatic hydrocarbons in Milan traffic wardens

Toxicol Lett. 1995 May;77(1-3):387-92. doi: 10.1016/0378-4274(95)03322-x.


Environmental and biological monitoring of airborne aromatic hydrocarbons has been performed in 20 policemen working as traffic wardens exposed to motor vehicle exhausts and in 19 peers employed as clerks. Airborne benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene concentrations, measured during the workshift, resulted in significantly higher outdoor than indoor concentrations (benzene and related aromatic hydrocarbons mean values, respectively of 53 and 350 micrograms/m3 vs. 29 and 180 micrograms/m3). Blood benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene concentrations did not differ significantly between indoor and outdoor workers; no differences were found between values obtained at the beginning (07:30 h) and the end of shift (00:30) in either group. Blood hydrocarbon concentrations seem to reflect airborne pollution, whilst the blood benzene concentration determined after the workshift poorly reflects airborne benzene morning peaks. Endshift blood benzene mean concentration in smokers (462 ng/l, n = 9) differs significantly from non-smokers (292 ng/l, n = 39).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Benzene / analysis
  • Benzene / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Police
  • Polycyclic Compounds / blood
  • Polycyclic Compounds / toxicity*
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Air Pollutants
  • Polycyclic Compounds
  • Benzene