In contrast to blood samples, samples of exhaled air for biomonitoring are taken non-invasively and in comparison to the collection of urine samples, are perceived as more hygienic and therefore as more pleasant. Nevertheless, the use of exhaled air as a sample material has as yet failed to acquire significance in routine occupational health practice. Reasons given for this include the lack of availability of practical sampling systems, the degree to which the time of sampling can influence the measurement results and the difficulties of the analysis.
Using the example of biomonitoring of workers exposed to tetrachloroethene it is shown how exhaled air can be obtained as a sample material by simple means and how previous barriers to use can be overcome. Through the use of special gas sampling tubes as a sampling system it was possible to develop a method that allows biomonitoring via exhaled air even in routine situations. Thus, sampling can be carried out in the form of self-sampling by employees if this is necessary for scheduling reasons. The exhaled air samples can be shipped directly, even via the public postal system, without further sample preparation. The special, compact shape of the gas collection tubes simplifies laboratory analysis and facilitates automation. The results of initial measurement programs with workers occupationally exposed to tetrachloroethene confirmed the practicability of the method.
This article was published in "Zentralblatt für Arbeitsmedizin, Arbeitsschutz und Ergonomie" Volume 64, Issue 5, pp. 305-308 (Springer-Verlag).
Please download the complete article "Biomonitoring in exhaled air exemplified by workers exposed to tetrachloroethene" (in German only).
Biomonitoring in Ausatemluft am Beispiel Tetrachlorethen-Exponierter.
in: Zentralblatt für Arbeitsmedizin, Arbeitsschutz und Ergonomie, Volume 64, Issue 6 2014. pages 397-400, DOI: 10.1007/s40664-014-0071-z