The effectiveness of respirators measured during styrene exposure in a plastic boat factory

  • Agneta Löf
  • Christina Brohede
  • Elisabeth Gullstrand
  • Karin Lindström
  • Jan Sollenberg
  • Kent Wrangskog
  • Mats Hagberg
  • Birgitta Kolmodin Hedman


In a plastic boat company we studied workers' attitudes toward wearing respiratory protective equipment and differences in styrene exposure received with and without respirators. The workers studied used either half-facepiece air-purifying or full-face air-supplied respirators as much as possible during the first day of the study. On the second day respirators were used only for short periods or not at all. Individual styrene exposures were measured by personal air sampling in the breathing zone. When using respirators the exposure was measured both inside and outside the respirators. The styrene metabolites mandelic and phenylglyoxylic acids were determined in urine samples collected during the workday. The eleven workers studied used the respirators 52% of the time on the first day and 7% of the time on the second. The reasons for not wearing respirators were that they delayed work, were too tight and uncomfortable, made it difficult to breath, and/or became too warm. The use of respirators during work operations such as spraying, laminating, and painting reduced the styrene exposure by 56%–92% . The excretion rate of mandelic and phenylglyoxylic acids in urine collected at the end of the working day was 30%–99% lower when respirators were worn than when they were not.

Key words

Mandelic acid Occupational exposure Phenylglyoxylic acid Respiratory protective equipment Styrene 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agneta Löf
    • 1
  • Christina Brohede
    • 1
  • Elisabeth Gullstrand
    • 1
  • Karin Lindström
    • 2
  • Jan Sollenberg
    • 1
  • Kent Wrangskog
    • 1
  • Mats Hagberg
    • 1
  • Birgitta Kolmodin Hedman
    • 3
  1. 1.National Institute of Occupational HealthSolnaSweden
  2. 2.Department of Occupational MedicineUniversity HospitalUmeåSweden
  3. 3.Department of Occupational MedicineHuddinge HospitalHuddingeSweden

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