Skip to main content

Biomonitoring of nitroarenes in Chinese workers


Research in the field of molecular toxicology has been exponentially growing in the last few years. Several studies have been undertaken to associate disease to chemical exposure. The association has been found only for a few compounds. Therefore, investigations of highly exposed workers are needed, which include the state of the art techniques in the field of molecular toxicology. This will improve the predictive value of the measured parameters.
Expected Outcome

Individuals from China will be trained to assess the work environment, and to analyze exposure enabling them to implement an occupational hygiene regime.
Workers in Chinese chemical industries are exposed to high concentrations of arylamines and nitroarenes. These compounds cause major occupational health problems. The aim of the present study is to investigate a large cohort of exposed workers to 2-nitrotoluene, 4-nitrotoluene and 4-chloronitrobenzene in a dye factory in Dalian (Province of Liaoning, China). The major adverse health effects among 600 workers are hepatomegaly (40-60 cases), neurasthenia, and splenomegaly. In addition, a cohort of TNT workers in Fuxin City in the Province of Liaoning, will be studied. High incidences of cataract have been registered among these workers. The workers will be identified as high, intermediate and low exposure groups, and a group of matched referents will also be included. Thirty workers per group and compound will be studied. Air levels, urine metabolites, albumin and hemoglobin adducts, DNA adducts from exfoliated urothelial bladder cells and chromosome aberrations in lymphocytes will be determined. The obtained values will be correlated to the health status of the workers and to the epidemiological data at the work site. In addition, individual susceptibility of the workers will be studied by genotyping the known polymorphic enzymes involved in the detoxification of the nitroarenes.
The levels of biomarkers found in the workers will be compared with levels measured in non-exposed groups. To establish an acceptable level of exposure to the above mentioned chemicals the following parameters will be measured:

External dose (air measurements); internal dose (urine metabolites); biological effective dose (blood proteins, DNA adducts in exfoliated urothelial bladder cells); biological effects (chromosomal aberrations); and individual susceptibility genotypes (glutathione S-transferase M1, glutathione S-transferase T1, N-acetyltransferase 2 and N-acetyltransferase 1).

Health monitoring of the exposed people will be carried out by occupational physicians. They will assess, a) disease related to the exposures such as aplastic anemia, toxic hepatitis, and cataracts, and b) frequency of non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, headache etc.


Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitdt München
80336 München 2

Participants (3)

Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine
29,Nan Wei Road
100050 Beijing
41 A,topeliuksenkatu 41 A
00250 Helsinki
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
United Kingdom
Framlington Place
NE2 4HH Newcastle Upon Tyne