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2015 | 2 | 1 |

Article title

Workers’ dermal and total exposure to metals
in biomass-fired power plants


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The aim of this study was to measure ash
removal and maintenance workers’ exposure to metals,
and assess the suitability of different methods to evaluate
metal exposure during these work tasks. Whole-body
samples and hand-washing method were used in workers’
dermal exposure assessment, and biomonitoring methods
of metals in total exposure assessment. The greatest
levels of Al, Pb, Cd, Cu, S, and Zn on workers’ hands
were measured in recycled fuel-fired power plants. The
median concentrations of lead on workers’ whole-body
samples were 4.5 ng/cm2, 17.0 ng/cm2, 11.3 ng/cm2, and
58.4 ng/cm2 in pellet-, peat-, wood- and recycled fuel-fired
power plants, respectively. In recycled fuel-fired power
plants, workers’ excretions of Al, Pb, and Mn exceeded
the reference values of non-exposed population in 33%,
100%, and 50% of samples, respectively. The dermal
exposure results clearly showed that power plant ash can
significantly contaminate workers’ hands and bodies.
The fact that the workers’ urinary excretions of metals
exceeded the reference values proved intake of metals
during these work tasks. Biomonitoring methods take into
account exposures from different sources and, due to that,
they are the most recommended approach for estimating
the total metal exposure of workers. Hand-washing and
whole body sampling were the most recommendable
methods for assessing the protection efficiency of gloves
and coveralls.








Physical description


15 - 1 - 2015
16 - 9 - 2014
23 - 12 - 2014


  • Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Neulaniementie 4, FI-70101 Kuopio, Finland
  • Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Neulaniementie 4, FI-70101 Kuopio, Finland
  • Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FI-00250 Helsinki, Finland
  • Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Neulaniementie 4, FI-70101 Kuopio, Finland


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Publication order reference


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