Air sampled from the breathing zone of chimney sweeps during "dirty work" and soot samples were analysed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). A total of 20 PAH were quantified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in 115 air samples and 18 soot samples. These included benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), chrysene, dibenz(a,h)anthracene, and indeno (1,2,3-cd)pyrene, all of which are animal carcinogens. The summed atmospheric concentration of these compounds depended on the type of fuel used and averaged 2.27 micrograms/m3 for oil fuel. If a mixture of oil and solid fuel was used the concentration was 5.06 micrograms/m3; pure solid fuel heating yielded 5.08 micrograms/m3. The air concentrations of BaP were 0.36, 0.83, and 0.82 micrograms/m3 respectively. The soot samples recovered after using the three different fuel types were 10.50, 109.10, and 51.25 mg BaP/kg. The maximum total concentrations of the five carcinogenic PAH were 243.70, 691.06, and 213.94 mg/kg respectively. The time weighted, shift mean concentrations of 0.02 to 0.21 micrograms/m3 benzo(a)pyrene obtained on 11 days form the basis for the industrial medical estimation of risk.
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