Ying-Fang Wang1,2, Yu-Chieh Kuo3, Ming-Yeng Lin3, Perng-Jy Tsai This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.3 

1 Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung 40201, Taiwan
2 Department of Occupational Medicine, Chung Shan Medical University Hospital, Taichung 40201, Taiwan
3 Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 70403, Taiwan

Received: June 30, 2021
Revised: August 3, 2021
Accepted: August 3, 2021

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.210160  

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Cite this article:

Wang, Y.F., Kuo, Y.C., Lin, M.Y., Tsai, P.J. (2021). Assessing Lung and Skin Cancer Risks for Steel and Iron Manufacturing Industry Workers Exposed to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 210160. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.210160


  • PAH inhalatory and dermal exposure assessments.
  • Excessive lung and skin cancer risks.
  • Risk-based control strategies.
  • Steel and iron manufacturing factory with an electric arc furnace.


Conducting both inhalatory and dermal samplings are crucial for chemicals, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known with chronic dermal and inhalatory health effects. The present study is the first one set out for conducting both PAH inhalatory and dermal exposure assessments simultaneously for electric arc furnace (EAF) workers in an iron and steelmaking industry. The results were further used to assess the health risks posed on workers. Finally, risk-based control strategies were suggested. Three similar exposure groups (SEGs) of the melting, ladling, and casting were selected for conducting personal samplings. A total of 15 and 120 samples were collected for assessing workers’ inhalatory and dermal PAH exposures, respectively. Results show that the inhalatory gas-phase PAH exposure levels (2.17 × 104–1.52 × 105 ng m3) were consistently higher than that of particle-phase (2.73 × 103–6.76 × 103 ng m3) in all selected exposure groups. The mean inhalatory exposure concentrations of the melting and casting workers (2.84 × 104–3.32 × 104 ng m3) were higher, but ladling workers (1.58 × 105 ng m3) were lower, than the time-weighted average permissible exposure level (PEL-TWA) regulated in Taiwan (1.00 × 105 ng m3). The estimated lifetime excessive lung cancer risks for the latter (2.09 × 103) were lower than that of the former (3.43 × 10-3–8.84 × 103), they were all higher than the significant risk (103) defined by the US Supreme Court. The mean whole-body total PAH dermal exposure levels were 2.84 × 105–7.45 × 105 ng day–1, and those body surfaces uncovered by clothes were found with higher exposure levels. Since the estimated lifetime excessive skin cancer risks (7.74 × 10–5–1.62 × 10–4) were lower than of the lung cancer risk, which indicates that the control of workers' inhalatory exposures is more important than that of dermal exposures. The installation of effective ventilation systems and the use of proper personal respiratory protection equipment are recommended for the abatement of risks posed on workers associated with PAH exposures.

Keywords: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), Exposure assessment, Health risk assessment, Control strategy, Steel and iron manufacturing factory

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