Heavy weight vehicle traffic and its relationship with antimony content in human blood

Waldo Quiroz, Ida De Gregori, Paola Basilio, Manuel Bravo, Marcela Pinto, Maria Gabriela Lobos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Brake pads systems are nowadays considered as one of the most important sources of antimony in airborne particulate matter. One way that antimony can enter the body is through the lungs and specially by the interaction of antimony with -SH groups present in erythrocyte membrane cells. In spite of that, there are no studies about antimony enrichment in blood of workers exposed to high vehicle traffic. Port workers are generally exposed to heavy weight vehicle traffic. In Chile the biggest marine port is found in Valparaíso City. In this study antimony in whole blood and its fractions (erythrocytes-plasma and erythrocytes membranes-cytoplasm) of 45 volunteers were determined. The volunteers were port workers from Valparaíso city, and two control groups, one from Valparaíso and another from Quebrada Alvarado, the latter being a rural area located about 100 Km away from Valparaíso. The results demonstrate that port workers are highly impacted by antimony emissions from heavy weight vehicle traffic showing an average concentration of 27 ± 9 ng Sb kg-1, 5-10 times higher than the concentration of antimony in the blood of control groups. These are the highest antimony levels in blood ever reported in the literature. The highest antimony percentages (>60%) were always found in the erythrocyte fractions. However, the exposure degree to vehicle traffic is significant over antimony distribution in plasma, erythrocytes and cytoplasm. This results shows that the antimony mass in the erythrocyte membranes, was approximately constant at 1.0 ± 0.1 ng Sb g-1 of whole blood in all blood samples analyzed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1055
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Environmental Monitoring
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009


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