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Int J Prev Med. 2019 Nov 6;10:194. doi: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_495_18. eCollection 2019.

Volatile Organic Compounds as a Preventive Health Challenge in the Petrochemical Industries.

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Department of Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Islamic Azad University, Shahreza Branch, Shahreza, Iran.
Department of Clinical Nutrition, School of Nutrition and Food Science, Food Security Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.



The aim of this study was to assess the effects of long-term exposure to VOCs on employees' clinical parameters in one of the main petroleum centers in Iran.


In this case-control study, 80 operational and administrative employees with 8-15 years of work experience were considered as the case and control groups. Liver function was evaluated by measuring serum alanine transaminase (ALT) activity and lipid profile was measured. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was used to analyze the VOCs levels at the workplace.


There were increased levels of serum ALT (P = 0.003), triglycerides (P = 0.015), total cholesterol (P = 0.003), and LDL-C (P = 0.010) among the operational staffs compared to the administrative staffs. Assessment of the relationship between worksite pollutants and ALT levels revealed that there were significant positive relationship between benzene (r = 0.45, P = 0.004) and styrene (r = 0.37, P = 0.034) with increased ALT concentrations.


VOC exposure could be contributed to reduced liver function and impaired lipid profile. Therefore, proper preventive strategies seem to be necessary for reducing hazardous exposure.


Lipid profile; liver enzyme; petrochemical employees; volatile organic compounds

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