Evaluation of BTEX concentrations in selected industries producing and applying paint based on human health risks through inhalation /

Dölek, Gizem Naz
In Turkey, ambient air quality control is managed by the Ministry of Environment and Urban Affairs (MoEU) with Air Quality Evaluation and Management Regulation, Industrial Sourced Air Pollution Control Regulation, Large Combustion Plants Regulation and Heating Sourced Air Pollution Control Regulation. These regulations stated that “indoor air of workplaces which are under occupational health and safety legislation are out of the scope” and “regulations are prepared for ambient air pollution prevention sourced by industrial facilities”. This situation indicates that legislation of MoEU is responsible only for ambient air quality. The task of providing a safe and healthy working environment for employees is given to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MoLSS). For this purpose, Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (ISGUM) of MoLSS measures chemical exposures of employees at workplaces, compares these concentrations with national legislative limits and stores the results in reports. It is seen that there is not any national legislation evaluating Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and limiting indoor air pollutants. IAQ is evaluated by the amount of hazardous chemicals in indoor air. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which are considered in this evaluation are emitted from especially paint, varnish, thinners and adhesives production and usage. In this study, health risks are calculated for employees who are exposed to benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX) during paint production and usage. 195 BTEX concentrations, measured at 57 different workplaces by ISGUM between 2006 and 2013, are used. Data is evaluated with respect to two classifications: type of industries and type of actions. By using the data, health risk assessment of inhalation exposure is conducted via using methodology provided by Environmental Protection Agency, RAGS, Volume I: Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part F, Supplemental Guidance for Inhalation Risk Assessment) (U.S. EPA, 2009). The results of the study demonstrate that employees of shipyard, automotive and furniture painting are exposed to BTEX more than employees of paint production and other industries. Furthermore, although concentrations are below the legislative limits, when HRA is conducted, it has been seen that health risks of exposure to these concentrations significantly exceed the acceptable cancer risk (1x10-6) and Hazard Index (1).