Objective: We investigated if asphalt workers showed signs of lung epithelial injury as shown by increased Clara cell protein 16 (CC16) in serum after 6 months of exposure.
Methods: Asphalt pavers, asphalt plant operators, and asphalt engineers underwent lung function tests and blood samples before the start of the asphalt season. The tests were repeated before the end of the asphalt season. Blood samples were analyzed for concentration of CC16 and interleukin-6 (IL-6).
Results: After adjustment for current smoking, the pavers had a significantly larger increase in CC16 concentrations after the season as compared with that of the engineers and plant operators. In pavers, the change in serum CC16 was correlated with the change in IL-6.
Conclusion: CC16 increased over the season in pavers and appears to be a useful biomarker for lung epithelial injury in exposed workers.