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Kinetics of styrene in workers from a plastics industry after controlled exposure: a comparison with subjects not previously exposed.
  1. A Löf,
  2. E Lundgren,
  3. M B Nordqvist


    Eight male workers from a glass reinforced plastics industry were experimentally exposed for 2 hours to 2.84 mmol/m3 (296 mg/m3) styrene during light physical exercise (50 W). About 63% of the amount supplied (4.6 mmol styrene) was taken up in the body. The arterial blood concentration of styrene reached a relatively stable level of 15 mumol/l at the end of exposure which was about 70% of the blood concentration in a group of volunteers with no previous exposure to solvents. The apparent blood clearance was significantly higher in the occupationally exposed subjects 2.01/h X kg compared with 1.51/h X kg. Contrary to the relatively stable level of styrene at the end of exposure the concentration of non-conjugated styrene glycol increased throughout the exposure and reached about 3 mumol/l in both groups. Like styrene, the non-conjugated styrene glycol seemed to be eliminated faster from the occupationally exposed workers. The blood concentration of styrene-7,8-oxide was low and seldom exceeded the detection limit of 0.02 mumol/l. The results show that long term exposure in a glass reinforced plastics industry may facilitate the metabolism of styrene.

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