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Benzene and naphthalene in air and breath as indicators of exposure to jet fuel
  1. P P Egeghy1,
  2. L Hauf-Cabalo1,
  3. R Gibson2,
  4. S M Rappaport1
  1. 1Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7431, USA
  2. 2Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), Clinical and Program Policy, Skyline 5, Suite 601, 5111 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3206, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Prof. S M Rappaport
 Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7431, USA; smrunc.edu

Abstract

Aims: To estimate exposures to benzene and naphthalene among military personnel working with jet fuel (JP-8) and to determine whether naphthalene might serve as a surrogate for JP-8 in studies of health effects.

Methods: Benzene and naphthalene were measured in air and breath of 326 personnel in the US Air Force, who had been assigned a priori into low, moderate, and high exposure categories for JP-8.

Results: Median air concentrations for persons in the low, moderate, and high exposure categories were 3.1, 7.4, and 252 µg benzene/m3 air, 4.6, 9.0, and 11.4 µg benzene/m3 breath, 1.9, 10.3, and 485 µg naphthalene/m3 air, and 0.73, 0.93, and 1.83 µg naphthalene/m3 breath, respectively. In the moderate and high exposure categories, 5% and 15% of the benzene air concentrations, respectively, were above the 2002 threshold limit value (TLV) of 1.6 mg/m3. Multiple regression analyses of air and breath levels revealed prominent background sources of benzene exposure, including cigarette smoke. However, naphthalene exposure was not unduly influenced by sources other than JP-8. Among heavily exposed workers, dermal contact with JP-8 contributed to air and breath concentrations along with several physical and environmental factors.

Conclusions: Personnel having regular contact with JP-8 are occasionally exposed to benzene at levels above the current TLV. Among heavily exposed workers, uptake of JP-8 components occurs via both inhalation and dermal contact. Naphthalene in air and breath can serve as useful measures of exposure to JP-8 and uptake of fuel components in the body.

  • benzene
  • naphthalene
  • jet fuel
  • JP-8
  • biological monitoring
  • exhaled air
  • breath
  • aircraft maintenance

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Footnotes

  • * Fuel tanks of some military aircraft are packed with polyurethane foam to reduce the risk of fire or explosion if the tank were to be ruptured during combat and to minimise fuel shifting during combat manoeuvres. The fuel soaked foam must be manually removed, stored in the workplace, and replaced during fuel tank maintenance.

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