Objective: This study analyzed the level of urinary S-phenylmercapturic acid (U-SPMA) for low benzene exposure in a group of Chinese shoe-making workers.
Methods: Urinary samples from 55 workers exposed to benzene at levels lower than 10 parts per million (ppm) were collected at postshift. U-SPMA level was determined using high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrography (HPLC/MS) method.
Results: Good linearity of U-SPMA was observed within the range from 10 to 320 μg/L (r = 0.9994). Concentration of airborne benzene ranged from 0.71 to 32.17 mg/m3, and three segments were divided with different levels of exposure (≤6.0, 6.0 to 10.0, 10 to 32.5 mg/m3), the median U-SPMA concentrations were 49.55, 102.15, and 335.69 μg/g Cr, respectively.
Conclusion: A good linear correlation was found between U-SPMA levels and airborne benzene concentrations. The selected method could be applied for detecting other working conditions in China.