Objective: To estimate hearing loss, neurobehavioral function, and neurotransmitter alteration induced by ethylbenzene in petrochemical workers.
Methods: From two petrochemical plants, 246 and 307 workers exposed to both ethylbenzene and noise were recruited—290 workers exposed to noise only from a power station plant and 327 office personnel as control group, respectively. Hearing and neurobehavioral functions were evaluated. Serum neurotransmitters were also determined.
Results: The prevalence of hearing loss was much higher in petrochemical groups than that in power station and control groups (P < 0.05). Compared with the control group, scores of neurobehavioral function reflecting learning and memory were decreased in petrochemical workers (P < 0.05), as well as acetylcholinesterase activity. Negative correlation was shown between neurobehavioral function and acetylcholinesterase.
Conclusions: Ethylbenzene exposure might be associated with hearing loss, neurobehavioral function impairment, and imbalance of neurotransmitters.
From the Tianjin Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Drs M. Zhang, Y. Wang, D. Yang, J. Zhang, F. Wang, and Q. Gu), Tianjin, China; and Tianjin Institute of Medical and Pharmaceutical Science (Dr Q. Wang), Tianjin, China.
Address correspondence to: Yanrang Wang, MD and Qing Gu, MD, Tianjin Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tianjin 300011, China (email@example.com) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The research protocol was approved by the Ethics and Human Subject Committee of Tianjin Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Authors Zhang, Wang, Wang, Yang, Zhang, Wang, and Gu have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.
The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.