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J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2018 Jun;28(4):358-370. doi: 10.1038/s41370-017-0010-0. Epub 2017 Dec 29.

Predictors of blood volatile organic compound levels in Gulf coast residents.

Author information

1
Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA.
2
Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
3
Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA.
4
Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA.
5
Social and Scientific Systems, Inc, Durham, NC, USA.
6
Emergency Response and Air Toxicants Branch, Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health, Atlanta, Georgia.
7
Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA.
8
Office of the Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA.
9
Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA. sandler@niehs.nih.gov.

Abstract

To address concerns among Gulf Coast residents about ongoing exposures to volatile organic compounds, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, o-xylene, and m-xylene/p-xylene (BTEX), we characterized current blood levels and identified predictors of BTEX among Gulf state residents. We collected questionnaire data on recent exposures and measured blood BTEX levels in a convenience sample of 718 Gulf residents. Because BTEX is rapidly cleared from the body, blood levels represent recent exposures in the past 24 h. We compared participants' levels of blood BTEX to a nationally representative sample. Among nonsmokers we assessed predictors of blood BTEX levels using linear regression, and predicted the risk of elevated BTEX levels using modified Poisson regression. Blood BTEX levels in Gulf residents were similar to national levels. Among nonsmokers, sex and reporting recent smoky/chemical odors predicted blood BTEX. The change in log benzene was -0.26 (95% CI: -0.47, -0.04) and 0.72 (0.02, 1.42) for women and those who reported odors, respectively. Season, time spent away from home, and self-reported residential proximity to Superfund sites (within a half mile) were statistically associated with benzene only, however mean concentration was nearly an order of magnitude below that of cigarette smokers. Among these Gulf residents, smoking was the primary contributor to blood BTEX levels, but other factors were also relevant.

KEYWORDS:

Biomonitoring; Personal exposure; Volatile organic compounds

PMID:
29288257
PMCID:
PMC6013310
DOI:
10.1038/s41370-017-0010-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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