Liver function alterations among workers in the shoe industry due to combined low-level exposure to organic solvents
This study aimed to investigate the potential hepatotoxicity, nephrotoxic, and hematotoxic effects of simultaneous occupational low-level exposure of shoe workers to a mixture of organic solvents. The study included 16 male and 55 female workers and non-exposed subjects (n = 60) in the control group. Along with a standard sets of hematological, liver enzymes (aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), bilirubin total, bilirubin direct, blood glucose, urea, and creatinine were analyzed in all participants. Indoor air quality was monitored using a Gasmet Dx − 4000 multi-component analyzer. Despite the concentration levels of individual chemicals in shoe production units were below the permissible limits, the equivalent exposure (Em) values calculated based on the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) occupational exposure limits were higher than 1. Statistically significant increase of biochemical parameters (aspartate aminotransferase (AST), gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), total bilirubin, and direct bilirubin) was obtained in exposed workers of both genders compared with controls (p < 0.001). Calculated liver damage risk scores were significantly higher in both females and males compared with controls (p < 0.001). The multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that direct bilirubin was the most important predictor of organic solvent mixture exposure in the studied group of workers. These results suggest that combined exposure to organic solvents even at low concentrations may lead to hepatotoxicity.