Exposure to toluene vapour enhances hepatic microsomal enzyme function in animals as assessed by the metabolism of the test drug antipyrine. Thirty six printing trade workers with long term occupational exposure to a mixture of organic solvents and 39 matched controls were randomly allocated into four groups. Eighteen printers and 21 controls were exposed to 100 ppm of toluene during 6.5 hours in an exposure chamber. The remaining 18 printers and 18 controls were exposed to 0 ppm of toluene under similar conditions. The salivary clearance of antipyrine was measured immediately after the stay in the exposure chamber to investigate a possible acute change in liver function and was repeated two weeks later, shortly before the summer vacation. Antipyrine clearance was measured again at the end of the summer vacation-four weeks after exposure. To study a possible effect of chronic exposure on antipyrine clearance 12 printing trade workers with 17 years (median) of occupational exposure to toluene vapour at concentrations of about 100 ppm were investigated before and four weeks after cessation of exposure. No difference in antipyrine clearance was found either within the groups or between the groups at any of the measurements.
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