OBJECTIVES: In order to improve the reliability of biological monitoring and the development of biological limit values, ethnic differences for several organic solvents were studied in Orientals and Caucasians.
METHODS: Six Caucasian and six Oriental volunteers were exposed to each organic solvent in an exposure chamber for 6 h. Exposure concentration to each organic solvent studied was 50 ppm for perchloroethylene, 50 ppm for styrene and 100 ppm for m-xylene, respectively. Biological monitoring was carried out for the parent organic solvents in exhaled air and in blood, and for the metabolites in urine during and after exposure.
RESULTS: Caucasians showed higher concentrations of perchloroethylene in exhaled air than Orientals after exposure. But Caucasians showed lower concentrations of styrene in the exhaled air than Orientals during the second half of exposure and after it. Orientals showed lower concentrations of urinary metabolites than Caucasians except for mandelic acid. There were no statistically significant differences in the concentrations of solvent in blood for all three solvents.
CONCLUSIONS: Implications of these differences in biological levels, under identical exposure conditions, are discussed in the context of biological monitoring.
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