Resin acids in commercial products and the work environment of Swedish wood pellets production Analytical methodology, occurrence and exposure
Abstract: The aims of the work this thesis is based upon were to develop convenient analytical procedures for determining resin acids in biological and environmental matrices, and apply them to enhance understanding of the occurrence, exposure to and uptake by exposed individuals of resin acids. Particular focus has been on the workplace environment of the Swedish wood pellets industry. Sample extraction procedures and high-performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionisation-mass spectrometry (HPLC/ESI-MS) methodologies were developed for measuring resin acids in dust, skin and urine samples. Chromatographic separation of abietic (AA) and pimaric acid was achieved by using a polar-embedded C12 stationary phase. The HPLC/ESI-MS method avoids undesirable oxidation of AA, which was found to occur during the derivatisation step in the standard MDHS 83/2 gas chromatography/flame ionisation detection (GC/FID) methodology, leading to false observations of both AA and the oxidation product 7-oxodehydroabietic acid (7-OXO). Personal exposures to resin acids in the Swedish wood pellet production industry were found to be lower, on average, than the British Occupational Exposure Limit for rosin (50 µg/m3). The oxidised resin acid 7-OXO, was detected in both dust and skin samples indicating the presence of allergenic resin acids. A correlation between air and post-shift urinary concentrations of dehydroabietic acid (DHAA), and a trend towards an increase in urinary 7-OXO during work shifts, were also observed. Whether the increase in 7-OXO was due to direct uptake or metabolism of other resin acids cannot be concluded from the results. An efficient HPLC/UV methodology with diode-array detection was developed for screening commercial products for rosin that could be used in laboratories lacking mass spectrometers. Very high concentrations of free resin acids were detected in depilatory wax strips using the method.
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