Methods for the assessment of exposures to diesel exhaust were evaluated, including various biomarkers of internal exposure and early biological effects. The impact of possible biomarkers of susceptibility was also explored. Underground workers (drivers of diesel-powered excavators) at an oil shale mine in Estonia were compared with surface workers. Personal exposures to particle-associated 1-nitropyrene (NP) were some eight times higher underground than on the surface. Underground miners were also occupationally exposed to benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, as indicated by excretion of urinary metabolites of benzene and pyrene. In addition, increased O(6)-alkylguanine DNA adducts were detected in the white blood cells of underground workers, suggesting higher exposure to nitroso-compounds. However, no differences between underground and surface workers were observed in the levels of other bulky DNA adducts determined by 32P-postlabelling, or in DNA damage. The study indicated that smoking, diet and residential indoor air pollution are important non-occupational factors to consider when interpreting biomonitoring results.
Keywords: Adult; Benzene; Biological Markers; Cells, Cultured; Comet Assay; DNA Adducts; DNA Damage; Environmental Monitoring; Estonia; Gases; Humans; Inhalation Exposure; Leukocytes; Middle Aged; Mining; Occupational Exposure; Polycyclic Hydrocarbons, Aromatic; Pyrenes; Vehicle Emissions