Aviation, space, and environmental medicine

Blood lead level and types of aviation fuel in aircraft maintenance crew.

PMID 24261063


This study inquired into any significant difference in blood lead levels (BLLs) among aircraft maintenance crews at the air-bases, each with a different aviation fuel in use, and confirmed an environmental impact of leaded aviation gasoline (AVGAS). This study included a total of 256 male aircraft maintenance personnel, among whom 105 used only AVGAS as their aviation fuel, while 151 used only jet propellant 8 (JP-8), a kerosene variety. BLLs were measured and the data on related factors were obtained. The arithmetic and geometric means of BLLs of the personnel at the airbases that used only AVGAS were 4.20 microg x dl(-1) and 4.01 microg x dl(-1) and that used only JP-8 were 3.79 microg x dl(-1) and 3.57 microg x dl(-1), respectively. The BLLs of the maintenance crew of the main workspace that was located within a 200-m distance from the runway were higher than those of the main workspace that was located 200 m or farther from the runway. The longer the work hours in the runway or the longer the work duration, the higher the BLLs of the maintenance crew. This investigation exposed the fact that a body's BLL could be increased by AVGAS emissions through the examination of aircraft maintenance crew. This result is in agreement with results of previous studies that suggest proximity to an airport may be associated with elevated BLLs for adults and children. Collectively, the results of the current study and previous research suggest that long-duration inhabitation and/or activities in close proximity to an air facility should be limited given that lead poses known health risks.