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Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2003 Jul;76(6):461-6. Epub 2003 Apr 10.

Comparison of breath, blood and urine concentrations in the biomonitoring of environmental exposure to 1,3-butadiene, 2,5-dimethylfuran, and benzene.

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Occupational Medicine Service, Department of Medicine and Public Health, Policlinico GB Rossi, University of Verona, 37134 Verona, Italy.



To investigate and compare alveolar, blood, and urine concentrations of 1,3-butadiene, 2,5 dimethylfuran, and benzene, in non-occupational exposure to these products.


Benzene, 2,5-dimethylfuran and 1,3-butadiene were measured in the breath, blood, and urine samples of 61 subjects living in small mountain villages. All 61 were regularly employed as forestry workers. Sampling was done during the long winter-season non-working period. Samples were collected after overnight rest and analysed by headspace and GC-mass spectrometry methods.


The median 1,3-butadiene level was 1.2 ng/l (range: <0.8-13.2 ng/l) in alveolar air, 2.2 ng/l (range: <0.5-50.2 ng/l) in blood, and 1.1 ng/l (range: <1-8.9 ng/l) in urine. The median benzene level was 5.7 ng/l (range: <1-24.9 ng/l) in alveolar air, 62.3 ng/l (range: 33.5-487.2 ng/l) in blood, and 63.4 ng/l (range: 25.8-1099.1 ng/l) in urine. The median 2,5-dimethylfuran level was 0.5 ng/l (range: <1-12.5 ng/l) in alveolar air, 2.5 ng/l (range: <5-372.9 ng/l) in blood, and 51.8 ng/l (range: <5-524.9 ng/l) in urine. In several cases, 2,5-dimethylfuran levels were below the detection limit in alveolar air and blood, especially in non-smokers. 1,3-Butadiene, 2,5-dimethylfuran and benzene levels were significantly higher in smokers than non-smokers in all biological media.


1,3-Butadiene and benzene, as ubiquitous pollutants, are detectable and quantifiable in human alveolar air, blood and urine. 2,5-Dimethylfuran, which is not a usual environmental pollutant, is almost always detectable in biological media, but only in smokers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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