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2017 Conference

Abstract Number: 328 | ID: 2017-328

Combining Acrylonitrile Air Measurements and Human Biological Monitoring in Integrated Environmental Health Assessments: A Case-Study Following a Major Train Accident in Belgium

Michele Rasoloharimahefa-Rasamoela(School of Public Health Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, mrasoloh@ulb.ac.be), R Aerts(WIV-ISP Scientific Institute of Public Health, Belgium), G Lebon(Crisis Center of the Federal Public Service of the Interior, Belgium), C. Van De Voorde(Fire Brigade Ghent, Belgium), T. Van Gyseghem(Antwerp Fire Brigade, Belgium), T. De Smedt(WIV-ISP Scientific Institute of Public Health, Belgium), C. Stove(Laboratory of Toxicology, Ghent University, Belgium), P. Depaepe(Department of Emergency Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, Belgium), M. Bader(Technical University of Munich, Germany), C. Bouland(School of Public Health Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium), A. Van Nieuwenhuyse(WIV-ISP, Scientific Institute of Public Health, Belgium)
Background/Aim: On May 4, 2013, a train loaded with several tons of acrylonitrile (ACN) derailed in the village of Wetteren (Belgium), leading to the evacuation of 2000 residents. In a previous study, we have presented the results of
the measurements of N-2-cyanoethylvaline in the residents and the associated health symptoms. In this study,
we describe the pattern of the acrylonitrile measures in the air.
Methods: Security perimeters were delimitated in function of the physicochemical characteristics of ACN by the Crisis
Management Cell. To monitor environmental exposure, in- and outdoor ACN air samples were collected by the
firemen from May 4 – 24. Drager CDS kits and photoionization detectors were used. For the analyses, ACN
concentrations were divided in 4 categories in ppm (INERIS, 2008), i.e. immediate hazard (>90), risk (22 ≤ ppm ≤ 90), vigilance (4 ≤ ppm ≤ 21), and below the safety threshold (<4).
Results: On the integrated map of the period May 4-24, presenting the highest value for each measuring point, the
highest ACN values were seen downwind of the train accident and in parallel with the sewerage system. From
the day-by-day mapping, it became clear that ACN followed the trajectory of the railway, the gravitational
sewerage network, and ended up in the water treatment plant. Maximum values of ACN were seen in the
sewerage system (330ppm) and the streets (196ppm), followed by the public buildings (107ppm) and the
houses (54ppm). Both in the public buildings and the houses, the toilets were the rooms with the highest
observed concentrations.
Conclusions: The patterns as seen on the basis of the ACN air measurements were in perfect agreement with the ones
observed previously in the HBM study. This study shows the added value of integrated risk and health impact
assessments in disaster management of chemical incidents.