Occupational exposure to metals can result in a number of negative implications for human health. Workers in industrial units such as smelters, welding sites or the plastics and battery industries can potentially be exposed to a number of hazardous substances. Airborne particulates and the elements they are composed of are known to present one of the greatest risks to health in such situations. Biological monitoring, or biomonitoring, is an important complementary measurement to the direct environmental monitoring of toxic substances in the air, and is already acknowledged as a valuable method which can provide reliable results in assessing potential risks to the health and safety of workers.
This book describes a study which examines the use of exhaled breath condensate (EBC) as a possible non-invasive tool for the evaluation of exposure to metal aerosols, fumes and airborne particulates. Exhaled breath condensate is a body fluid which is collected through the condensation of exhaled breath under conditions of tidal breathing. It is commonly used for the determination of oxidative biomarkers in airway inflammation. By using data collected from the EBC of differently exposed groups of workers in the lead processing industries, including a non-exposed group, this study investigates whether EBC is a suitable matrix for assessing exposure to metals, and determines its applicability as a routine based bioindicator in occupational settings.