[Urban air pollutant exposure among traffic policemen]

Med Lav. 1996 Jul-Aug;87(4):314-22.
[Article in Italian]


Exposure to dusts and benzene was studied in 65 traffic policemen. Samples of total dusts showed that mean personal exposure was 0.44 (SD = 0.30) mg/m3, with peaks of about 2 mg/m3. Exposure to 1-nitropyrene (1-NP), the main compound occurring in emissions from diesel engines, which was estimated from concentrations in dusts collected with high-flow samplers, was 0.28 (SD = 0.19) ng/m3 (range: 0.06-1.24 ng/m3). The mean concentration of benzene in the breathing zone was 41 (SD = 20) micrograms/m3, although a level of 100 micrograms/m3 was slightly exceeded in one subject. In urine samples collected before and after workshifts, two biological indicators of exposure to benzene were measured, urinary benzene and urinary trans, trans-muconic acid (MA). The mean values of urinary benzene before and after workshift were similar (98, SD = 81 and 83, SD = 55 ng/l; n = 63; Wilcoxon's T-test = not significant), while a moderate increase in the metabolite was observed (MA = 0.08, SD = 0.11; 0.11, SD = 0.09 mg/g creatinine, in pre- and post-shift samples respectively; Wilcoxon's T-test, z = 3.00; p < 0.01). The levels of exposure to dusts and 1-NP deriving from diesel engine emissions were comparable to those of other occupational groups with this type of risk (garage mechanics, workers operating diesel engine machinery, etc.). Traffic police exposure to benzene was similar to that of the whole population of Padova (40 micrograms/m3, mean annual 24-hour value). However, the values of urinary MA, like those reported by other authors for non-smoker controls, increased after the workshift, indicating low occupational exposure to this pollutant. It should be noted that traffic police exposure to benzene is much lower than that of other occupational categories, e.g., fuel pump distributors.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Benzene / analysis
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Police*
  • Pyrenes / analysis
  • Sorbic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Sorbic Acid / analysis
  • Urban Health*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Pyrenes
  • muconic acid
  • Benzene
  • Sorbic Acid