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Biologic markers in hospital workers exposed to low levels of ethylene oxide.
Schulte PA; Boeniger M; Walker JT; Schober SE; Pereira MA; Gulati DK; Wojciechowski JP; Garza A; Froelich R; Strauss G; Halperin WE; Herrick R; Griffith J
Mutat Res 1992 Apr; 278(4):237-251
This study provided a cumulative estimate of exposure, controlled for a large number of confounding factors, and used two methods of statistical analysis to demonstrate the relationship between low level ethylene-oxide (75218) exposure and various biomarkers. The study subjects included 73 hospital workers at ten US and Mexican hospitals exposed to ethylene-oxide primarily during the unloading of sterilizers. Exposure levels were monitored for a 4 month period. At the end of the period, blood samples were collected for hemoglobin adduct, sister chromatid exchange, and chromosomal micronuclei assays. The results indicated that exposure to levels lower than the currently accepted limit of 1 part per million (ppm) for an 8 hour time weighted average (TWA) was able to produce a positive exposure/response relationship. Sterilizer operators with a mean cumulative 4 month exposure level of 105ppm/hour and an estimated 8 hour TWA of 0.16ppm could be distinguished from workers with no ethylene-oxide exposure by an increased frequency of hemoglobin adducts and of sister chromatid exchanges. Chromosomal micronuclei showed no consistent relationship with exposure. While it is not known at present whether these increases may be indicative of increased risk of disease, they do reflect relatively low levels of ethylene-oxide exposure.
NIOSH-Author; Biological-monitoring; Medical-personnel; Occupational-exposure; Dose-response; Genotoxic-effects; Chromosome-damage; Author Keywords: Ethylene oxide; Biologic markers
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Page last reviewed: September 22, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division