The results of the analysis of blood and urine samples for styrene and its metabolites in 491 workers in a styrene polymerisation plant in the United States are reported. The levels of exposure to styrene were estimated to be less than 10 ppm, but nevertheless styrene and metabolites were detectable in more than 50% of workers in polymerisation jobs, within 4 h of exposure. Workers involved in the manufacture and purification of styrene from ethyl benzene also had detectable blood styrene and urinary metabolites in 83% of recently exposed subjects. The relationship between styrene in blood and in subcutaneous fat and urinary metabolites as pharmacokinetic variables is discussed.
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