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J Chromatogr B Biomed Sci Appl. 2001 Jun 5;757(1):59-68.

Determination of styrene and styrene-7,8-oxide in human blood by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

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Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 27599-7400, USA.


Methods of isotope-dilution gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) are described for the determination of styrene and styrene-7,8-oxide (SO) in blood. Styrene and SO were directly measured in pentane extracts of blood from 35 reinforced plastics workers exposed to 4.7-97 ppm styrene. Using positive ion chemical ionization, styrene could be detected at levels greater than 2.5 microg/l blood and SO at levels greater than 0.05 microg/l blood. An alternative method for measurement of SO employed reaction with valine followed by derivatization with pentafluorophenyl isothiocyanate and analysis via negative ion chemical ionization GC-MS-MS (SO detection limit=0.025 microg/l blood). The detection limits for SO by these two methods were 10-20-fold lower than gas chromatographic assays reported earlier, based upon either electron impact MS or flame ionization detection. Excellent agreement between the two SO methods was observed for standard calibration curves while moderate to good agreement was observed among selected reinforced plastics workers (n = 10). Levels of styrene in blood were found to be proportional to the corresponding air exposures to styrene, in line with other published relationships. Although levels of SO in blood, measured by the direct method, were significantly correlated with air levels of either styrene or SO among the reinforced plastics workers, blood concentrations were much lower than previously reported at a given exposure to styrene. The two assays for SO in blood appear to be unbiased and to have sufficient sensitivity and specificity for applications involving workers exposed to styrene and SO during the manufacture of reinforced plastics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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