Effects of methanol on styrene metabolism among workers occupationally exposed at low concentrations

Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 1995 May;28(4):543-6. doi: 10.1007/BF00211640.


A survey was conducted in the second half of a work week on 39 male workers who were occupationally exposed to styrene in combination with methanol and methyl acetate during the production of plastic buttons. Time-weighted average exposure during an 8-h shift to styrene (Sty-A) and methyl acetate was monitored by carbon cloth-equipped personal samplers and to methanol by water-equipped ones. Urine samples were collected near the end of the shift and analyzed for mandelic (MA-U) and phenylglyoxylic acids (PhGA-U) by HPLC. Geometric mean styrene concentration was 12.4 ppm (micrograms/g) with the maximum of 46 ppm, whereas the values for methanol and methyl acetate in combination were 23.5 ppm and 229 ppm, respectively. The relationship of MA-U and PhGA-U with Sty-A was examined by linear regression analysis. The equations for the regression lines were compared with the results from a previous survey (Ikeda et al. 1983) in which workers were exposed only to styrene, and the methods employed were identical with that in the present study. The comparison showed no evidence to suggest that styrene metabolism is suppressed by coexposure to methanol and methyl acetate at low concentrations below the current occupational exposure limit of 200 ppm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / toxicity*
  • Chemical Industry
  • Glyoxylates / urine
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandelic Acids / urine
  • Methanol / toxicity*
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Styrene
  • Styrenes / metabolism*
  • Styrenes / toxicity


  • Acetates
  • Glyoxylates
  • Mandelic Acids
  • Styrenes
  • Styrene
  • glyoxylic acid
  • mandelic acid
  • methyl acetate
  • Methanol