Oxidative Stress Biomarkers in Exhaled Breath of Workers Exposed to Crystalline Silica Dust by SPME-GC-MS

Mahdi Jalali, Mohammad Javad Zare Sakhvidi, Abdulrahman Bahrami, Nima Berijani, Hussein Mahjub


Background: Silicosis is considered an oxidative stress related disease that can lead to the development of lung cancer. In this study, our purpose was to analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the exhaled breath of workers exposed to silica containing dust and compare peak area of these compounds with silicosis patients and healthy volunteers (smokers and nonsmokers) groups.

Methods: In this cross sectional case-control study, the exhaled breath of 69 subjects including workers exposed to silica (n=20), silicosis patient (n=4), healthy non-smoker (n=20) and healthy smoker (n=25) were analyzed. We collected breath samples using 3-liter Tedlar bags. The VOCs were extracted with solid phase micro-extraction (SPME) and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Personal exposure intensity was measured according to NIOSH 7601 method. Respiratory parameters were measured using spirometry.

Results: Seventy percent and 100% of the exposures to crystalline silica dust exceeded from 8 h TWA ACGIH TLVs in case and positive control groups, respectively. A significant negative correlation was found between dust exposure intensity and FEV1/FVC when exposure and positive control groups were studied in a group (r2=-0.601, P<0.001). Totally, forty VOCs were found in all exhaled breath samples. Among the VOCs, the mean of peak area acetaldehyde, hexanal, nonanal, decane, pentad cane, 2-propanol and 3-hydroxy-2-butanone were higher in exhaled breath of the workers exposed to silica and silicosis patient compared to the healthy smoker and nonsmoker controls. In some cases the difference was significant (P<0.05).

Conclusions: The analysis of some VOCs in exhaled breath of subjects is appropriate biomarker to determine of exposure to silica.



Breath tests; Occupational exposure; Biomarkers; Oxidative stress; Silicosis; Volatile organic compounds

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