Sleep disorders may pose a risk to workers in the workplace. We aimed to investigate the associations between metal fume fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and sleep quality in workers. We assessed the effects of personal exposure to metal fume PM2.5 on lung functions, urinary biomarkers, and sleep quality in shipyard welding workers. In total, 96 welding workers and 54 office workers were recruited in the present study; office workers were exposed to 82.1 ± 94.1 μg/m3 PM2.5 and welding workers were exposed to 2166.5 ± 3149.1 μg/m3. Welding workers had significantly lower levels of FEV25-75 than office workers (p < 0.05). An increase in 1 μg/m3 PM2.5 was associated with a decrease of 0.003 ng/mL in urinary serotonin (95% CI = -0.007-0.000, p < 0.05) in all workers and with a decrease of 0.001 ng/mL in serotonin (95% CI = -0.004-0.002, p < 0.05) in welding workers, but these were not observed in office workers. There was no significant association of PM2.5 with urinary cortisol observed in any workers. Urinary serotonin was associated with urinary Cu, Mn, Co, Ni, Cd, and Pb. Urinary cortisol was associated with Cu, Mn, Co, Ni, Cd, and Pb. Sixteen subjects were randomly selected from each of the office and welding workers for personal monitoring of sleep quality using a wearable device. We observed that welding workers had greater awake times than did office workers (p < 0.05). Our study observed that exposure to heavy metals in metal fume PM2.5 may disrupt sleep quality in welding workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-532
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Cortisol
  • Lung function
  • PM
  • Serotonin
  • Wearable device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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