Environmental and occupational exposure to benzene in Thailand.
Chem Biol Interact. 2005 May 30;153-154:75-83. Epub 2005 Apr 1. PMID: 15935802
Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology, Chulabhorn Research Institute, Vipavadee Rangsit Highway, Lak Si, Donmuang, Bangkok 10210, Thailand.
Exposure to benzene in air is a concern in Thailand, particularly since it was observed that the incidence of blood-related cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma, has increased in the past few decades. In Bangkok, the mean atmospheric levels of benzene on main roads and in schools were 33.71 and 8.25 ppb, respectively, while in gasoline service stations and petrochemical factories the mean ambient levels were 64.78 and 66.24 ppb, respectively. Cloth vendors (22.61 ppb) and grilled-meat vendors (28.19 ppb) working on the roadsides were exposed to significantly higher levels of benzene than the control group (12.95 ppb; p<0.05). Bangkok school children (5.50 ppb) were exposed to significantly higher levels of benzene than provincial school children (2.54 ppb; p<0.01). Factory workers (73.55 ppb) and gasoline service attendants (121.67 ppb) were exposed to significantly higher levels of benzene than control workers (4.77 ppb; p<0.001). In accordance with the increased benzene exposures, levels of urinary trans,trans-muconic acid (MA) were significantly increased in all benzene-exposed groups. In school children, the levels of MA were relatively high, taking into account the much lower level of exposure. Blood benzene levels were also significantly increased in Bangkok school children (77.97 ppt; p<0.01), gasoline service attendants (641.84 ppt; p<0.05) and factory workers (572.61 ppt; p<0.001), when compared with the respective controls. DNA damage, determined as DNA strand breaks, was found to be elevated in gasoline service attendants, petrochemical factory workers, and Bangkok school children (p<0.001). The cytogenetic challenge assay, which measures DNA repair capacity, showed varying levels of significant increases in the numbers of dicentrics and deletions in gasoline service attendants, petrochemical factory workers and Bangkok school children, indicating a decrease in DNA repair capacity in these subjects.