Toxicology letters

Biological monitoring of indoor-exposure to dioxin-like and non-dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) in a public building.

PMID 21699966


The release of PCBs from sealant material in public buildings and the resulting indoor air levels have raised growing concerns about possible human health effects connected with this exposure. Ambient monitoring of PCBs in a public building has revealed a contamination with the more volatile lower chlorinated PCB 28, PCB 52 and PCB 101. This gave reason for a large biological monitoring study in order to examine the internal exposure to PCBs in persons working in that building. Blood samples from 209 persons employed in the PCB-contaminated building were drawn. 98 persons matched for age and gender working in non-contaminated buildings served as control group. Plasma samples were analysed for the six indicator PCBs (PCB 28, 52, 101, 138, 153, 180) and 12 dioxin-like PCBs using GC/MS (LOD: 0.01 μg/L). Significant differences between both collectives were only found for the plasma levels of the lower chlorinated PCB 28, PCB 52 and PCB 101 and for the dioxin-like congeners PCB 105 and PCB 118, which are due to inhalative exposure to these congeners via indoor air. Median plasma levels of PCB 28, PCB 52 and PCB 101 in the employees of the contaminated building were 0.087 μg/L, 0.024 μg/L and 0.012 μg/L, respectively. The concentrations of the higher chlorinated PCBs and all other dioxin-like congeners investigated were within the normal range of the general population. There was no relationship between indoor air measurements and internal exposure of the employees in the corresponding office, but estimated lifetime exposure of the employees turned out to be a significant factor for plasma levels of PCB 28. Our biomonitoring results served as a basis for individual risk communication and successful risk management.