Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1994;20(6):459-465    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.1374

Exposure-response relationships in the formation of specific antibodies to hexahydrophthalic anhydride in exposed workers.

by Welinder HE, Jonsson BA, Nielsen JE, Ottosson HE, Gustavsson CA

OBJECTIVES Exposure-response relationships in the formation of specific antibodies to hexahydrophthalic anhydride (HHPA) was studied in exposed workers.

METHODS The relation between exposure to HHPA and the levels of specific immunoglobin E [(radioallergosorbent test (RAST)] and immunoglobin G (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) antibodies was investigated in a cross-sectional study on 95 workers from two plants using epoxy resin with HHPA as a hardener; the mean time of exposure was 7 (range 0.1-25) years.

RESULTS The specific immunoglobin E and immunoglobin G was significantly increased in exposed workers when they were compared with unexposed workers or external referents. There was no significant difference in the number of RAST positives [N = 23 (24%)] between the groups of workers exposed to < 10 micrograms.m-3, 10--< 50 micrograms.m-3, or > or = 50 micrograms.m-3. No effects were found of atopy or smoking habits on the prevalence of RAST positives. Five out of seven workers positive for immunoglobulin E in the group with the lowest exposures reported frequent short-time (minutes per day) exposures exceeding 50 micrograms.m-3. A correlation was seen between specific immunoglobulin E and G antibodies (rs = 0.5).

CONCLUSIONS The results indicate that HHPA is a sensitizing compound even at low exposure levels and that short-time peak exposures may have an impact on immunoglobulin E sensitization.