Biological monitoring of occupational exposure to enflurane (ethrane) can be achieved by measuring concentrations of inorganic fluorides in the blood and urine and of enflurane in alveolar air and venous blood. Measurement of these concentrations, however, has limitations. Another method for monitoring exposure to enflurane is to measure its concentration in urine throughout the period of exposure. In this study, we measured the environmental and urinary concentrations of enflurane. Enflurane in the ambient atmosphere was determined in 18 operating theaters of eight hospitals in Italy. Ambient air concentrations exceeded the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-recommended time-weighted average exposure level of 1 ppm (median: 1.31 ppm). Enflurane was detected in urine of 159 exposed subjects (anesthetists, surgeons, and nurses). A significant correlation was found between enflurane concentration in urine produced during the shift and environmental concentration (r = 0.77, p =.0001). The results showed that urinary enflurane concentration can be used as an appropriate biological exposure index. The biological values proposed are 153 μg/l, corresponding to 75 ppm of environmental exposure; 22 μg/l, corresponding to 10 ppm of environmental exposure; and 3.5 μg/l, corresponding to 1 ppm of environmental exposure. The proposed values can be regarded as time-weighted average samples, reflecting exposure for a 4-h period.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
- Environmental Science(all)
- Environmental Chemistry
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health