Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in air samples of meat smokehouses

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In a screening programme nine Danish meat smokehouses were randomly selected for measurements on concentration of airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). A total of 23 stationary air samples were collected during the entire working period of the kiln either above the kiln doors or approximately 2 m in front of the kiln doors (i.e. total exposure on the day of sampling). Three of these samples had a PAH content below the detection limit of the highly sensitive assay employed. Furthermore, eight personal air samples were collected during the periods of tending the kiln (i.e. peak exposure measurement). Three of these samples were below the detection limit. Total airborne PAH concentration of the stationary air samples calculated as the sum of the concentration of 16 selected PAH compounds, was in general far lower than the total airborne PAH concentration measured in the same manner in smokehouses curing fish (Nordholm et al., 1986). In contrast to the study on PAH exposure in smokehouses curing fish, the present study revealed no significant difference between total PAH content in air samples collected above the kilns compared with samples collected approximately 2 m in front of the kiln doors. Calculation of the relative content of the individual PAH compounds in the stationary air samples collected in meat smokehouses showed naphthalene to be the major compound in (70% +/- 26% of total PAH), whereas the relative content of carcinogenic PAH compounds in average represented 4.0% of the total PAH content. However, only approximately 15% of the stationary air samples with detectable content of total PAH contained detectable amounts of carcinogenic PAH compounds. Hence it was concluded that PAH exposure during cold meat curing might be considered a limited health hazard compared with PAH exposure during hot fish curing.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Science of the Total Environment
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)17-26
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 1992

    Research areas

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational, Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid, Denmark, Food Preservation, Humans, Meat, Occupational Exposure, Polycyclic Compounds, Smoke

ID: 48866018