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Trans, Trans-Muconic Acid as a Biomarker of Occupational Exposure to High-Level Benzene in China

Zhang, Ling PhD; Ye, Fang-li MB; Chen, Tian PhD; Mei, Yong PhD; Song, Shi-zhen PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: October 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 10 - p 1194–1198
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31822cfd36
Original Articles

Objective: The work aimed to study the potential correlation between the high-level benzene exposure and its urinary metabolites S-phenylmercapturic acid (SPMA) and trans, trans-muconic acid (t,t-MA) in Chinese shoe-making workers.

Methods: Individual benzene-exposed levels were determined by gas chromatography analysis, urinary t,t-MA, and urinary SPMA were determined by high performance liquid chromatography-an ultraviolet detector and liquid chromatography/electrospray tandem mass spectrometry method, respectively.

Results: The concentration of benzene ranged from 2.57 to 146.11 mg/m3. And the correlation between benzene and t,t-MA was significantly higher than that of SPMA at the postshift, for example, the correlation coefficient was 0.905 and 0.537 for t,t-MA and SPMA, respectively. Moreover, The relative internal exposure index of t,t-MA (0.28 mg/g Cr: mg/m3) was more similar to the data supplied by American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists compared to the index of SPMA (0.025 mg/g Cr:mg/m3).

Conclusions: t,t-MA appeared to be a more specific biomarker than SPMA at high-level benzene exposure.

From the Department of Preventive Medicine (Drs Zhang, Mei, and Song and Mr Ye), Medical College, Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China; and Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Environment and Health (Dr Chen), School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.

Address correspondence to: Shi-zhen Song, PhD, Department of Preventive Medicine, Medical College, Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430065, China; (

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine