Propanil is one of the major herbicides used on rice-paddies and is thought to produce adverse health effects through the action of its metabolite 3,4-dichloroaniline (3,4-DCA). The feasibility of monitoring human exposure to propanil on the basis of 3,4-DCA adducts to haemoglobin (Hb) was investigated. We developed a method based on gas chromatography negative ion chemical ionization-mass spectrometry (NICI-GC-MS) to quantify 3,4-DCA released from human Hb after alkaline hydrolysis of the protein. 3,4-DCA-Hb adducts were identified in agricultural workers exposed to propanil and were detectable even 4 months after the last herbicide application. Urine samples collected at the same time had no measurable level of 3,4-DCA. 3,4-DCA-Hb adducts might be useful for monitoring human exposure to 3,4-DCA from agricultural sources.
- Haemoglobin adducts
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