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Air pollution in the workplace: making shish kebab is an overlooked occupational hazard

Abstract

Background

Meat grilled with wood charcoal is the most popular meal in Central Asia, but little is known about the grillers’ occupational exposure to fine particulate matter (PM) in fumes.

Objectives

The aim of this study was to provide a quantitative analysis of occupational exposure to fine PM in grillers in the workplace.

Methods

We assessed exposure to PM2.5 from barbecue fumes using SidePak AM520 in six popular cafes in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Grillers wore devices for 8 h of work shift for 7 days in each place. Within- and between-place variances of PM2.5 mass concentrations were calculated using analysis of variance, and we also calculated the fold range of the 95% variance within (wR0.95) and between places (bR0.95), as well as exceedance (γ) and the probability of overexposure (θ).

Results

Two modes of exposure were identified, including intermittent and continuous. The median of daily geometric mean PM2.5 concentrations was 0.143 (interquartile range (IQR): 0.213) and 0.404 (IQR: 0.243) mg/m3, accordingly. bR0.95 was very large (20.2), but wR0.95 was even greater (47.8), illustrating extremely high fluctuations in PM2.5 concentrations; γ was 0.116, and θ was 0.095.

Significance

Very high occupational exposure to barbecue fumes in grillers is overlooked and likely causes elevated health risks.

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Fig. 1: Histogram of daily geometric mean concentrations from sites.
Fig. 2: PM2.5 personal occupational exposure concentrations to barbecue fumes in the places with intermittent mode of exposure.
Fig. 3: PM2.5 personal occupational exposure concentrations to barbecue fumes in the places with continuous mode of exposure.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all grillers for their participation, as well as cafe management and the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Healthcare, Zhanna Kalmatayeva, for their support.

Funding

The publication was prepared with the support of the “RUDN University Program 5-100.”

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Correspondence to Denis Vinnikov.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Vinnikov, D., Romanova, Z. & Zhumabayeva, G. Air pollution in the workplace: making shish kebab is an overlooked occupational hazard. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 31, 777–783 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41370-020-00283-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41370-020-00283-4

Keywords

  • Exposure
  • Particulate matter
  • Occupational
  • Exceedance

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