Occupational exposure to metalworking fluids (MWF) can cause various malignant and non-malignant health conditions. The French National Research and Safety Institute (INRS) in partnership with the Center for Primary Care and Public Health (Unisanté, Switzerland), and the University of Lille (France) conducted an epidemiological study among French and Swiss workers exposed to MWF. The aim was to analyze the possible relationships between different parameters of occupational exposure to MWF and biomarkers of exposure and early health effects in French and Swiss workers.
We followed 120 workers for two consecutive workdays. MWF aerosol exposures were characterized as the mass concentrations of the particulate and gaseous fractions.
In both countries, the measured air concentrations of the particulate MWF fraction were mostly below their respective recommended occupational exposure limits. A statistically significant association was observed between the concentration of malondialdehyde (an oxidative stress biomarker), measured in the exhaled breath condensate, and different parameters of exposure, especially for the gaseous fraction. No significantly statistical relationships between MWF aerosol exposure and urinary oxidative stress biomarkers were found. There was an association between respiratory symptoms and MWF aerosol concentrations. Some genotoxic effects observed in buccal cells were associated with current MWF aerosol exposures as well as for cumulative exposures estimated for the previous five years.
The results are in favor of an association between exposure to MWF aerosol and oxidative stress in the lungs, genotoxicity in the aerodigestive tract, and respiratory symptoms. The relationship is often more marked when considering the gaseous fraction from the MWF aerosol.
Co-funding: PNREST Anses, Cancer ITMO AVIESAN, EST-2016/1/166.