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Occupational and Environmental Lung Diseases |

Enzyme Measurements for Risk Assessment in Sewage Treatment Plants

Ragnar Rylander*, MD; Anna Calo, PhD
Author and Funding Information

BioFact Env Health Res Center, Lerum, Sweden


Chest. 2012;142(4_MeetingAbstracts):750A. doi:10.1378/chest.1358860
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Abstract

SESSION TYPE: Occupational/ Environmental Lung Disease Posters

PRESENTED ON: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 01:30 PM - 02:30 PM

PURPOSE: Work in sewage treatment plants has been associated with pulmonary symptoms, excessive fatigue, joint pains and diarrhoea. One causative agent is probably bacterial endotoxin and measurements have demonstrated high levels, particularly at sites where the water is agitated. As the analysis of endotoxin is complicated and expensive, a project was undertaken to evaluate if measurements of microbial enzymes could be used for risk assessment.

METHODS: Water and air samples were taken at 118 worksites in ten different plants of varying age and technical standard. Endotoxin was analysed using a Limulus based automatic technique (Endosafe PTS, Charles River. Charleston SC, USA). The amounts of bacterial hydrolase (BH) and N-acetylhexosaminidase (NAHA) were measured using commercially available techniques and expressed as enzyme Units/m3(Mycometer A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark). The levels were related to the degree of agitation of the sewage water at different worksites.

RESULTS: The methodological variation of the BH samples was large and the storage time short. The work hence focused on NAHA and endotoxin. There were significant correlations between the amounts of endotoxin and NAHA, both in the water and in the air. Both measures were significantly related to the degree of agitation of the water.

CONCLUSIONS: NAHA can be used as a marker for endotoxin exposure. Based on previous experience regarding the inhalation toxicity of endotoxin, a NAHA value of 50 U/m3 during more than 15 minutes can be suggested as a level above which the risk of medical effects are increased.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: In case of suspect occupationally related exposure as a cause for respiratory and general inflammatory symmproms measurements of NAHA provide a tool for rapid risk assessment

DISCLOSURE: The following authors have nothing to disclose: Ragnar Rylander, Anna Calo

No Product/Research Disclosure Information

BioFact Env Health Res Center, Lerum, Sweden

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