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Korean J Prev Med. 2000 Mar;33(1):45-50. Korean. Original Article.
Hwang CH , Lee WJ , Chang SH , Kim HA .
Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Konkuk University.
Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea.

OBJECTIVES: This study was undertaken to evaluate correlation between the levels of hippuric acid in blood plasma (HAP) and those of toluene concentration in the workplace air. METHODS: Study subjects were composed of two groups; 21 workers who were occupationally exposed to toluene and 25 rural-area residents who were not exposed to any known occupational toluene source, as an exposed group and a reference group, respectively. Mean age and work duration of the exposed was 42 years and five years, respectively. Mean age of the reference was 42 years. To determine toluene concentrations in the workplace air, air sampling has been conducted for more than six hours using a personal sampler, and analyzed by a gas chromatography-flame ionization detector. Concentrations of hippuric acid in biological samples were determined by a high performance liquid chromatography-ultraviolet detector. RESULTS: Geometric mean(geometric standard deviation) of HAP and hippuric acid in urine(HAU) for the exposed was 1.39(2.21) mg/L and 2.77(1.46) g/L, respectively, which were significantly different from those of the reference [HAP, 0.45(2.94); HAU, 0.37(0.45)]. Toluene concentration in the workplace air was 86.92(range: 45.18~151.23) ppm. The level of HAP or HAU was significantly correlated (r=0.70 and r=0.63, respectively) with that of toluene in the workplace air. The estimated regression equation was logHAP(mg/L)=-3.60+1.93 log(toluene, ppm) or logHAU(g/L)=-0.85+0.67 log(toluene, ppm). The magnitude of correlation was further enhanced when analyzing relationship between toluene concentrations lower than 100 ppm and its corresponding HAP levels. CONCLUSION: Overall, plasma hippuric acid levels were well correlated with toluene concentrations in the workplace air, and a statistically significant correlation was observed for the samples with toluene concentration lower than 100 ppm.

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