Fluoride Action Network

Abstract

Workers in primary aluminum smelter are exposed to fluoride from cryolite (Na3AlF6) used in the electrolysis process. Post-shift urinary fluoride is considered as an appropriate index for examination of fluoride exposure. The objective of the study was to investigate the exposure to fluoride in primary aluminum smelter in Žiar nad Hronom (Slovakia) during three consecutive two-year periods between 2012 and 2018. The relationship between fluoride exposure in the occupational environment, tobacco smoking, and pre- and post-shift urinary fluoride concentration was investigated in 76 male workers in the ages from 21 to 60 years. Workers were monitored by personal fluoride sampling equipment. Their urinary samples were collected prior to the start and at the end of an eight-hour shift. Fluoride content in urine samples was analyzed by potentiometric ion-selective electrode and expressed as weight ratio of fluoride content to creatinine. The Mean ± SD particulate fluoride concentration in occupational air was 0.966 ± 1.658 mg/m3 and gas-phase fluoride concentration was 0.327 ± 0.809 mg/m3. Mean urinary fluoride concentration of all workers was significantly higher (p < 0.001) after the eight-hour shift. Smokers tended to have a higher post-shift mean urinary fluoride concentration than non-smokers, but this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.11). The difference between these two groups of workers was also not statistically significant (p = 0.62) before the shift. Therefore, according to results, smoking caused no statistically significant difference in urinary fluoride levels between the group of smokers and group of non-smokers in primary aluminum workers.

Figure 1


*Full text study online at https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3417/11/1/156/htm

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