Olfactory function in workers exposed to styrene in the reinforced-plastics industry

Pamela Dalton, Beverly Cowart, Daniel Dilks, Michele Gould, Peter Sj Lees, Aleksandr Stefaniak, Edward Emmett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Impairment of olfactory function in humans has been associated with occupational exposure to volatile chemicals. To investigate whether exposure to styrene was associated with olfactory impairment, olfactory function was examined in workers with a minimum of 4 years exposure to styrene in the reinforced-plastics industry (current mean exposure: 26 ppm, range: 10-60 ppm; historic mean dose: 156 ppm-years, range: 13.8-328 ppm-years) and in a group of age- and gender-matched, unexposed controls. Methods: Olfactory function was assessed using a standardized battery that included tests of threshold sensitivity for phenylethyl alcohol (PEA), odor identification ability, and retronasal odor perception. Odor detection thresholds for styrene were also obtained as a measure of specific adaptation to the work environment. Results: No differences were observed between exposed workers and controls on tests of olfactory function. Elevation of styrene odor detection thresholds among exposed workers indicated exposure-induced adaptation. Conclusions: The present study found no evidence among a cross-section of reinforced-plastics industry workers that current or historical exposure to styrene was associated with impairment of olfactory function. Taken together with anatomical differences between rodent and human airways and the lack of evidence for styrene metabolism in human nasal tissue, the results strongly suggest that at these concentrations, styrene is not an olfactory toxicant in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003

Fingerprint

Styrene
Plastics
Industry
Phenylethyl Alcohol
Aptitude
Occupational Exposure
Nose
Rodentia
Age Groups
Odorants

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Nasal effects
  • Occupational exposure
  • Olfactory function
  • Styrene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Olfactory function in workers exposed to styrene in the reinforced-plastics industry. / Dalton, Pamela; Cowart, Beverly; Dilks, Daniel; Gould, Michele; Lees, Peter Sj; Stefaniak, Aleksandr; Emmett, Edward.

In: American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Vol. 44, No. 1, 01.07.2003, p. 1-11.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dalton, Pamela ; Cowart, Beverly ; Dilks, Daniel ; Gould, Michele ; Lees, Peter Sj ; Stefaniak, Aleksandr ; Emmett, Edward. / Olfactory function in workers exposed to styrene in the reinforced-plastics industry. In: American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2003 ; Vol. 44, No. 1. pp. 1-11.
@article{c0247a293a9f4717a22fdc3d270bc865,
title = "Olfactory function in workers exposed to styrene in the reinforced-plastics industry",
abstract = "Background: Impairment of olfactory function in humans has been associated with occupational exposure to volatile chemicals. To investigate whether exposure to styrene was associated with olfactory impairment, olfactory function was examined in workers with a minimum of 4 years exposure to styrene in the reinforced-plastics industry (current mean exposure: 26 ppm, range: 10-60 ppm; historic mean dose: 156 ppm-years, range: 13.8-328 ppm-years) and in a group of age- and gender-matched, unexposed controls. Methods: Olfactory function was assessed using a standardized battery that included tests of threshold sensitivity for phenylethyl alcohol (PEA), odor identification ability, and retronasal odor perception. Odor detection thresholds for styrene were also obtained as a measure of specific adaptation to the work environment. Results: No differences were observed between exposed workers and controls on tests of olfactory function. Elevation of styrene odor detection thresholds among exposed workers indicated exposure-induced adaptation. Conclusions: The present study found no evidence among a cross-section of reinforced-plastics industry workers that current or historical exposure to styrene was associated with impairment of olfactory function. Taken together with anatomical differences between rodent and human airways and the lack of evidence for styrene metabolism in human nasal tissue, the results strongly suggest that at these concentrations, styrene is not an olfactory toxicant in humans.",
keywords = "Adaptation, Nasal effects, Occupational exposure, Olfactory function, Styrene",
author = "Pamela Dalton and Beverly Cowart and Daniel Dilks and Michele Gould and Lees, {Peter Sj} and Aleksandr Stefaniak and Edward Emmett",
year = "2003",
month = "7",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1002/ajim.10102",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "44",
pages = "1--11",
journal = "American Journal of Industrial Medicine",
issn = "0271-3586",
publisher = "Wiley-Liss Inc.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Olfactory function in workers exposed to styrene in the reinforced-plastics industry

AU - Dalton, Pamela

AU - Cowart, Beverly

AU - Dilks, Daniel

AU - Gould, Michele

AU - Lees, Peter Sj

AU - Stefaniak, Aleksandr

AU - Emmett, Edward

PY - 2003/7/1

Y1 - 2003/7/1

N2 - Background: Impairment of olfactory function in humans has been associated with occupational exposure to volatile chemicals. To investigate whether exposure to styrene was associated with olfactory impairment, olfactory function was examined in workers with a minimum of 4 years exposure to styrene in the reinforced-plastics industry (current mean exposure: 26 ppm, range: 10-60 ppm; historic mean dose: 156 ppm-years, range: 13.8-328 ppm-years) and in a group of age- and gender-matched, unexposed controls. Methods: Olfactory function was assessed using a standardized battery that included tests of threshold sensitivity for phenylethyl alcohol (PEA), odor identification ability, and retronasal odor perception. Odor detection thresholds for styrene were also obtained as a measure of specific adaptation to the work environment. Results: No differences were observed between exposed workers and controls on tests of olfactory function. Elevation of styrene odor detection thresholds among exposed workers indicated exposure-induced adaptation. Conclusions: The present study found no evidence among a cross-section of reinforced-plastics industry workers that current or historical exposure to styrene was associated with impairment of olfactory function. Taken together with anatomical differences between rodent and human airways and the lack of evidence for styrene metabolism in human nasal tissue, the results strongly suggest that at these concentrations, styrene is not an olfactory toxicant in humans.

AB - Background: Impairment of olfactory function in humans has been associated with occupational exposure to volatile chemicals. To investigate whether exposure to styrene was associated with olfactory impairment, olfactory function was examined in workers with a minimum of 4 years exposure to styrene in the reinforced-plastics industry (current mean exposure: 26 ppm, range: 10-60 ppm; historic mean dose: 156 ppm-years, range: 13.8-328 ppm-years) and in a group of age- and gender-matched, unexposed controls. Methods: Olfactory function was assessed using a standardized battery that included tests of threshold sensitivity for phenylethyl alcohol (PEA), odor identification ability, and retronasal odor perception. Odor detection thresholds for styrene were also obtained as a measure of specific adaptation to the work environment. Results: No differences were observed between exposed workers and controls on tests of olfactory function. Elevation of styrene odor detection thresholds among exposed workers indicated exposure-induced adaptation. Conclusions: The present study found no evidence among a cross-section of reinforced-plastics industry workers that current or historical exposure to styrene was associated with impairment of olfactory function. Taken together with anatomical differences between rodent and human airways and the lack of evidence for styrene metabolism in human nasal tissue, the results strongly suggest that at these concentrations, styrene is not an olfactory toxicant in humans.

KW - Adaptation

KW - Nasal effects

KW - Occupational exposure

KW - Olfactory function

KW - Styrene

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0037625164&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0037625164&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/ajim.10102

DO - 10.1002/ajim.10102

M3 - Article

C2 - 12822130

AN - SCOPUS:0037625164

VL - 44

SP - 1

EP - 11

JO - American Journal of Industrial Medicine

JF - American Journal of Industrial Medicine

SN - 0271-3586

IS - 1

ER -