Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1978;4(3):237-245    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.2702

Exposure to toluene in a photogravure printing plant. Concentration in ambient air and uptake in the body.

by Övrum Per, Hultengren M, Lindqvist T

Workers in the photogravure printing industry were studied concerning exposure of toluene. The study included determination of exposure with personal air sampling and with direct reading physical instruments and determination of the concentration in alveolar air. Uptake of toluene in the body was ascertained with a direct and an indirect method. The physiological work load was determined with pulmonary ventilation measurements, and the toluene concentration in the blood was determined. The results showed that there was no appreciable difference between exposure determined with personal air sampling and with stationary direct reading physical instruments. The study also showed that alveolar air sampling during exposure can be used when the uptake of toluene is being estimated. The alveolar air concentrations after the end of exposure reflected the uptake during exposure, but the correlation to the concentration in the inspiratory air was low. The results also showed a correlation between the concentration in alveolar air and the concentration in blood. Estimations made showed that the uptake in the body was of such a magnitude that there could be a risk of central nervous disturbances. No change in the uptake of toluene, as the percentage of the given amount, could be seen, neither during a day`s exposure nor from day to day during a week. The authors recommend measurements of alveolar air concentrations as a method for biologically monitoring toluene uptake.