Benzene exposure among auto-repair workers from workplace ambience: A pioneer study from Pakistan
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Department of Environmental Sciences, Eco-Health Research Group, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Islamabad, Pakistan
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2014;27(5):830-9
Objectives: In Pakistan, the reports on benzene exposure among workers in chemical industries are almost non-existing due to limited research work in the field of exposure science. This study aimed to investigate such exposure in a widely adopted occupation in Rawalpindi city. Material and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 60 blood samples (N = 20/group) of mechanics (MCs), spray painters (PNs) and control participants (CN) were analyzed. The socio-economic and demographic information of workers and that of workplaces was documented using a short questionnaire. Results: We identified that the workers in spray-painting occupation are highly at risk of benzene exposure. The results showed that PNs were more at risk of exposure to benzene than MCs, and this exposure was significantly correlated with long working hours (r = 0.68, p < 0.001). Moreover, there are several limitations in workplace setups, which need to be addressed in order to mitigate workers health risk in this occupation. In addition to the reckless use of chemicals, other identified predictors of exposure included active and passive smoking, poor workplace hygiene and substandard ventilation. Conclusions: To mitigate workplace exposure, it is necessary to reduce working hours and encourage regular use of self-protective equipments and adoption of proper hygiene in chemical workplaces.
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