1,1,1-Trichloroethane (methyl chloroform) in urine as biological index of exposure

M. Imbriani, S. Ghittori, G. Pezzagno, J. Huang, E. Capodaglio

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Fifteen human volunteers were exposed to 1,1,1-trichloroethane (methyl chloroform) vapor at 72-495 mg/m3 for a period of 2 to 4 hours at rest (ten cases) and during light physical exercise (five cases). Subsequently 60 workers occupationally exposed to 1,1,1-trichloroethane in a refrigerator manufacturing plant were studied (median value: 178 mg/m3; geometrical standard deviation: 2.19 mg/m3). As expected, the relative uptake (R) of 1,1,1-trichloroethane decreased in the course of exposure at rest (R = 0.44 after 20 minutes of exposure; R = 0.26 after 240 minutes of exposure). Both in the experimentally exposed subjects and in the occupationally exposed workers, the urinary concentration of 1,1,1-trichloroethane showed a linear relationship to the corresponding environmental time-weighted average concentration. The correlation coefficients (r) were 0.95 in occupationally exposed subjects and more than 0.90 in experimentally exposed groups. A linear equation also existed between urinary concentration and amount of 1,1,1-trichloroethane absorbed (r = 0.88). The findings indicate that the urinary concentration of 1,1,1-trichloroethane can be used as an appropriate biological exposure indicator. In occupationally exposed subjects performing moderate work, the urinary 1,1,1-trichloroethane concentration corresponding to the time-weighted average of the threshold limit value was found to be 860 μg/L and its 95% lower confidence limit (biological threshold) 805 μg/L.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-222
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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