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Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1988 Oct;49(10):497-505.

Biological monitoring of styrene: a review.

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Institute of Occupational Health and Hygiene, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Erratum in

  • Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 1989 May;50(5):288.


Recent literature about the biological monitoring of styrene-exposed workers is reviewed. Styrene primarily exhibits its toxicity on the central and peripheral nervous systems, although its mutagenicity and chromosome damaging ability also may be relevant. Uptake, transformation and excretion of styrene show that beside the usual biological indicators, such as urinary mandelic and phenylglyoxylic acids (main metabolites), other indicators also may be of interest. These include styrene in expired air, in blood or in urine. Moreover, intermediate or final metabolites such as styrene glycol or mandelic acid in blood also have been proven to be useful in the interpretation of individual values. The most widely used analytical methods for these indicators are gas or high performance liquid chromatography. Correlations between exposure and the different biological indicators mentioned above show that the most reliable indicators are mandelic acid (MA) in urine sampled at the end of the work shift (but not the first day of the week) and the sum of mandelic and phenylglyoxylic acids (MA + PGA) in urine sampled 16 hr after exposure (before the next shift). The biological exposure limit values corresponding to the threshold limit value-time-weighted average (TLV-TWA) of 50 ppm of styrene are 850 mg MA/g creatinine in the end-of-shift sample and 330 mg MA + PGA/g creatinine in the next-morning sample. Other biological indexes, such as styrene glycol (phenyl ethylene glycol) in blood or styrene in urine, look promising but require further research in field situations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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