Biomonitoring after exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other residues of combustion

Project No. BGBA #015


completed 10/1997


Chimney sweeps are exposed to complex compound products of combustion, in particular polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) when sweeping chimneys. Goal: determining internal damage caused by dangerous substances with the aid of biological monitoring using 1-hydroxypyrene as a PAH conductor; supplementary tests on the excretion of phenanthrene-metabolites, chlorophenols and aromatic amines.


Examination of 100 chimney sweeps in three different regions in the Federal Republic of Germany and in Poland. Determining work place histories and competing factors with help of a standardised questionnaire, urine biomonitoring.


1-hydroxypyrene in urine appears particularly suitable as a parameter for the biomonitoring of chimney sweeps' work places when sample taking follows a more concentrated actual exposure to residues of combustion containing PAH. A clear connection between 1-OH-pyrene-excreation and certain techniques or fuels cannot be made. Active smoking proved to be the main influence for the excretion of 1-OH-pyrene. Internal PAH exposure in chimney sweeps currently lies at best only slightly above that of the population in general. The determining of the excretion of hydroxilised phenanthrene in urine shows a similar distribution pattern as that of 1-OH-pyrene. The relatively small number of test persons in whom chlorophenol and particular aromatic amines could additionally be established enables no general statements on the internal exposure of chimney sweeps to these substances to be made.

Last Update:

15 Aug 2000


Financed by:
  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Bau-Berufsgenossenschaften
Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Arbeits-
  • Sozial- und Umweltmedizin der Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

construction industry

Type of hazard:

dangerous substances


Krebserregende Stoffe, Arbeitsmedizinische Vorsorge, Gefährdungsbeurteilung

Description, key words:

PAH exposure/strain and biomonitoring of chimney sweeps