'n Ondersoek na die blootstelling aan stof in 'n kooksvervaardigingsaanleg en die verbandhoudende gesondheidsgevare
Hyman, Johannes Philippus
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In this study an investigation has been done to determine: 1. The exposure of the workers to coke dust. 2. The size of the particles in the measured coke dust. 3. The existence of BaP in the various types of coke. 4. The health status of the workers by analyzing the lung function tests and also the liver enzyme concentrations. Personal sampling was done on workers at the coke plant. Sampling was done on cleaners, silo workers, workers at the kiln, a process controller and a foreman. Static samples were done in the offices, The particle size was analyzed on some of the personal samples. The presence of BaP was measured in coke. The respiratory data of 15 workers were sampled to determine any deviation on the lung functions. This was also done on liver enzymes. Statistical analyses was done on the health data. Workers at the coke plant are exposed to respiratory coke dust. More than 80% of coke dust at the Carbo-Tar plant is respiratable according to the results of this study. BaP is found in the respiratable fraction of coke dust at the coke plant. The workers are subjected to BaP - that is a sign of the presence of total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's). PAH's are classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The concentration, to which the workers are subjected, is much lower than the international threshold limit value for BaP (table 4.1.3). Literature shows that a variety of illnesses and cancers (cancer of the stomach, cancer of the lungs, respiratory deviations, skin cancer and dermatitis, effects on the immune system etc.) are found in coke oven workers as a result of being exposed to PAWS (Bhopal et al., 1994; Jongeneelen, 1992; Redmond et al., 1976; Doll et al., 1972; Lloyd, 1971 & Doll er al., 1965). In this study however, no diagnosis is made about possible lung illnesses in group content, but there is an indication of early obstructive lung disease, because of the exposure to respiratabie coke dust. Some individuals show obstructive lung disease because of the possible exposure to high concentrations of coke dust. The liver enzymes (ALT and AST) show no sign of any deviations in the group content, although some individuals do show deviations of the ALT enzymes. The reason for this is unclear 'because the concentration of BaP in coke dust is lower than the threshold value determined by the Swedish. There is a possible cancer risk to the workers because of the exposure to PAH's. However, the exposure of the workers to BaP is very low. Literature shows that workers who are subjected to tobacco smoke, have a 20% higher risk to contract cancer (Xu et al., 1996). No health effects could be detected for the workers because of the exposure to PAH's. The plant has only been in production for 6 years, and the studies done by other researchers were on data of retired coke oven workers who had at least 25 years and more work experience at coke plants. The possibility that some of the workers could develop cancer can't be excluded. The situation must be monitored and a recommendation is made that this study must be repeated in 4 year's time. Further research is necessary to determine the genoroxicity of coke dust. The exposure to gemtoxicity carcinogens must be zero while there is an acceptance for exposure to epigenetic carcinogens (Williams & Burson, 1985).
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