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J Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol. 1991 Oct;1(4):439-51.

Elimination of volatile organic compounds in breath after exposure to occupational and environmental microenvironments.

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Analytical and Chemical Sciences, Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709.


Breath measurements offer the potential for a direct and noninvasive evaluation of human exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the environments in which people live and work. This research study was conducted to further evaluate and develop the potential of this exposure assessment methodology. Several people were exposed to the atmosphere in six microenvironments for several hours. Air concentrations of VOCs were measured during these exposures and breath samples were collected and analyzed at multiple time points after the exposure to evaluate elimination kinetics for 21 VOCs. A new alveolar breath collection technique was applied. Elimination half-lives were estimated using a mono- and bi-exponential model. The alveolar breath collection and analysis methodology proved to be very useful for collecting many samples in short time intervals and this capability was very important for more accurately describing the initial phase of the decay curves. Breath decay curves were generated from samples collected over a four hour period after exposure for 21 of 24 target VOCs. A biexponential function generally provided a better fit for the decay data than did the monoexponential function, supporting a multi-compartment uptake and elimination model for the human body.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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