John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Monitoring the population's occupational and environmental exposure to carcinogenic chemical compounds: Example of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Volume 13, issue 4, Juillet-Août 2014

1 CHU de Grenoble
Laboratoire de Toxicologie professionnelle et environnementale
Pôle de biologie
CHU de Grenoble
BP 217
30143 Grenoble cedex 09
2 Université Joseph Fourier
Faculté de médecine
Laboratoire TIMC (UMR CNRS 5525)
Équipe EPSP Environnement et prédiction de la santé des populations
Domaine de la Merci
38706 La Tronche
* Tirés à part

While the occurrence of cancer reflects a heritage from the past, assessment of the current spatial and temporal exposure of populations to carcinogenic agents can help to define groups of subjects/tasks at risk and enable the implementation of measures to prevent future cancers. Individual exposure assessment, combining both modeling and ambient air monitoring recorded by air pollution monitoring networks, is commonly used in environmental impact studies. Individual exposure measurements are now beginning to be used in environmental health monitoring, because of their precision. Moreover, they are the only method allowed for regulatory assessment of occupational exposures. Atmospheric monitoring is an essential tool for characterizing emission sources and peaks of exposure, but biological monitoring provides better estimates of the health risks in general or specific populations because it takes into account all exposure sources and routes, protective equipment, and individual factors. Ten years ago, we set up a database to begin recording measurements of occupational exposure to atmospheric/biological PAHs. It has been fed throughout this decade with routine records of exposure levels and determinants (quantities and composition of products used, process characteristics, work tasks, protective equipment, and smoking status) for each subject. As populations are generally exposed to complex mixtures of gaseous and particulate PAHs of varying composition, we have been developing various biomarkers that can be useful both in occupational settings for assessing carcinogenic exposures and in environmental settings for characterizing the body burden of different populations.