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Open Access Short report

A pilot study on the stability of toluene in blood from workers

Masanori Ogawa1* and Teppei Sasahara2

Author Affiliations

1 Health Service Center, Jichi Medical University, 3311-1, Yakushiji, Shimotsuke-shi, Tochigi, 329-0498, Japan

2 Division of Bacteriology, Jichi Medical University, 3311-1, Yakushiji, Shimotsuke-shi, Tochigi, 329-0498, Japan

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Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology 2012, 7:24  doi:10.1186/1745-6673-7-24

Published: 2 December 2012

Abstract

Background

Biological monitoring is used to assess toluene exposure in medical examinations. The American Conference of Industrial Hygienists, Japanese Society for Occupational Health and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft have proposed various biological exposure determinants, such as toluene in blood and urine, and o-cresol in urine. Toluene in blood is a common biomarker among them. Toluene is a volatile organic solvent; therefore, sample preservation under appropriate conditions before measurement is necessary. However, little study has been done on the stability of toluene in workers’ blood samples under conditions simulating those of a medical examination.

Finding

We carried out a pilot study on the stability of toluene in blood from humans, according to different methods of sample preservation. Toluene in blood was analyzed by head space-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The sealing performance of the vial was examined by using toluene-added blood and the stability of toluene in blood according to the preservation period was examined by using blood from toluene-handling workers, which was collected with vacuum blood tubes. The sealing performance of the headspace vial used in this study was good for three days and toluene in blood in tubes from workers was stable at least within 8 hours up to blood packing at 4°C.

Conclusion

We could propose that the collected blood need only be transferred into headspace vials on the collection day and analyzed within a few days, if the samples are preserved at 4°C. Our data size is limited; however, it may be considered basic information for biological monitoring in medical examinations.

Keywords:
Stability; Toluene; GC/MS; Medical examination; Volatile organic solvent