Saf Health Work.  2019 Mar;10(1):103-108. 10.1016/

Evaluation of the Suitability of Establishing Biological Exposure Indices of Styrene

  • 1Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health, Korean Industrial Heath Association, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
  • 2Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute, Korea Occupational Safety & Health Agency, Ulsan, Republic of Korea.
  • 3Seoul Occupational Health Center, Korean Industrial Heath Association, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


This study was designed to provide logical backgrounds for the revision of biological exposure indices (BEIs) for styrene exposure in Korea. In order to investigate the correlation between airborne styrene and biological exposure indices, we measured urinary mandelic acid (MA) and phenylglyoxylic acid (PGA) in workers exposed to styrene occupationally, as well as airborne styrene at workplaces.
Surveys were conducted for 56 subjects. The concentrations of airborne styrene and urinary metabolites of styrene were measured in 36 workers who were occupationally exposed to styrene, and in 20 controls. Air samples were collected using personal air samplers and analyzed by gas chromatography. Urine samples were collected at the end of the shift and analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography.
The geometric mean concentration of airborne styrene was 9.6 ppm. The concentrations of urinary MA, PGA, and MA+PGA in the exposure group were 267.7, 143.3, and 416.8 mg/g creatinine, respectively. The correlation coefficients for correlation between airborne styrene and MA, PGA, and MA+PGA were 0.714, 0.604, and 0.769, respectively. The sum of urinary MA and PGA corresponding to an exposure of 20 ppm styrene was 603 mg/g creatinine.
The correlation of the sum of urinary MA and PGA with airborne styrene was better than the correlation of each individual urinary determinant. It is considered appropriate to amend the concentration of urinary MA+PGA to 600 mg/g creatinine as a BEI, which corresponds to an airborne styrene concentration of 20 ppm in Korea.


Biological exposure indices; Correlation; Styrene; Urinary mandelic acid; Urinary phenylglyoxylic acid
Full Text Links
  • SHAW
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Copyright © 2020 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: