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Volatile organic compounds in runners near a roadway: increased blood levels after short-duration exercise


Blair, C and Walls, J and Davies, NW and Jacobson, GA, Volatile organic compounds in runners near a roadway: increased blood levels after short-duration exercise, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 44, (10) pp. 731-735. ISSN 0306-3674 (2010) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Article author (or their employer) 2010. Produced by BMJ Publishing Group Ltd under licence

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DOI: doi:10.1136/bjsm.2008.051888


Objective To determine if non-elite athletes undertaking short duration running exercise adjacent to a busy roadway experience increased blood levels of common pollutant volatile organic compounds (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX)). Design and setting The study was observational in design. Participants (nine males/one female non-elite athletes) ran for 20 min, near a busy roadway along a 100 m defined course at their own pace. Blood levels of BTEX were determined both pre- and post-exercise by SPME-GC-MS. Environmental BTEX levels were determined by passive adsorption samplers. Results Subjects completed a mean (range) distance of 4.4 (3.4 to 5.2) km over 20 min (4.5 (3.8 to 5.9) min/km pace), with a mean (SD) exercise intensity of 93 (2.3)% HRmax, and mean (SD) ventilation significantly elevated compared with resting levels (86.2 (2.3) vs 8.7 (0.9) l/min; p<0.001). The mean (SD) environmental levels (time weighted average) were determined as 53.1 (4.2), 428 (83), and 80.0 (3.7) g/m3 for toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes, respectively, while benzene was below the detectable limit due to the short exposure period. Significant increases in blood BTEX levels were observed in runners between pre- and postexercise for toluene (mean increase of 1.4 ng/ml; p=0.002), ethylbenzene (0.7 ng/ml; p=0.0003), m/p-xylene (2.0 ng/ml; p=0.004) and o-xylene (1.1 ng/ml; p=0.002), but no change was observed for benzene. Conclusions Blood BTEX levels are increased during high-intensity exercise such as running undertaken in areas with BTEX pollution, even with a short duration of exercise. This may have health implications for runners who regularly exercise near roadways.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences
Research Field:Toxicology (incl. clinical toxicology)
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions
UTAS Author:Blair, C (Mr Chauncy Blair)
UTAS Author:Walls, J (Professor Justin Walls)
UTAS Author:Davies, NW (Associate Professor Noel Davies)
UTAS Author:Jacobson, GA (Professor Glenn Jacobson)
ID Code:66495
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Pharmacy
Deposited On:2011-01-31
Last Modified:2011-04-17
Downloads:629 View Download Statistics

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