Estimation of the percutaneous absorption of styrene in an industrial situation
This field study was designed to compare the level of styrene absorbed percutaneously with that absorbed by inhalation in a real situation in the fiberglass-reinforced polyester industry. Methods: The study protocol consisted of comparisons of the patterns of urinary excretion of styrene metabolites by four groups of workers, all of whom performed the same task at the same time in the same workshop but wore the following different protective equipment: total protection with an insulating suit and mask, respiratory equipment only, percutaneous protection only, and no protection. Results: The urinary excretion level of the group with total protection did not significantly differ from that of the group with respiratory protection only. Conclusions: Precutaneous absorption is not a particularly important pathway for styrene absorption during stratification work in the polyester industry. Completely insulating personal protective equipment provides no greater level of protection than does a respirator at positive pressure alone.
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