A pilot study of total personal exposure to volatile organic compounds among Hispanic female domestic cleaners

Kelly Oyer-Peterson, David Gimeno Ruiz de Porras, Inkyu Han, George L. Delclos, Edward G. Brooks, Masoud Afshar, Kristina W. Whitworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cleaners have an elevated risk for the development or exacerbation of asthma and other respiratory conditions, possibly due to exposure to cleaning products containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) leading to inflammation and oxidative stress. This pilot study aimed to quantify total personal exposure to VOCs and to assess biomarkers of inflammation and pulmonary oxidative stress in 15 predominantly Hispanic women working as domestic cleaners in San Antonio, Texas, between November 2019 and July 2020. In partnership with a community organization, Domésticas Unidas, recruited women were invited to attend a training session where they were provided 3M 3500 passive organic vapor monitors (badges) and began a 72-hr sampling period during which they were instructed to wear one badge during the entire period (“AT,” for All the Time), a second badge only while they were inside their home (“INS,” for INSide), and a third badge only when they were outside their home (“OUT,” for OUTside). At the end of the sampling period, women returned the badges and provided blood and exhaled breath condensate (EBC) samples. From the badges, 30 individual VOCs were measured and summed to inform total VOC (TVOC) concentrations, as well as concentrations of the following VOC groups: aromatic hydrocarbons, alkanes, halogenated hydrocarbons, and terpenes. From the blood and EBC samples, concentrations of serum C-reactive protein (CRP) and EBC 8-isoprostane (8-ISP) and pH were quantified. Data analyses included descriptive statistics. The 72-hr average of personal exposure to TVOC was 34.4 ppb and ranged from 9.2 to 219.5 ppb. The most prevalent class of VOC exposures for most women (66.7%) was terpenes, specifically d-limonene. Overall, most women also experienced higher TVOC concentrations while outside their home (86.7%) as compared to inside their home. Serum CRP concentrations ranged from 0.3 to 20.3 mg/dL; 8-ISP concentrations ranged from 9.5 to 44.1 pg/mL; and EBC pH ranged from 7.1 to 8.6. Overall, this pilot study demonstrated personal VOC exposure among Hispanic domestic cleaners, particularly to d-limonene, which may result from the use of scented cleaning products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • housecleaners
  • inflammation
  • Latina health
  • VOCs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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