The effects of simultaneous exposure to methyl ethyl ketone and toluene on urinary biomarkers of occupational N,N-dimethylformamide exposure.Toxicol Lett. 2005 Mar 15; 155(3):385-95.TL
General regulations and risk assessment regarding toxicants are single-compound oriented even though humans are exposed to multi-chemicals in the general environment. This study investigated the effects of different levels of N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) and co-exposure levels of methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and toluene (TOL) on two biomarkers of DMF exposure: non-metabolized urinary (U-)DMF and the DMF metabolite urinary N-methylformamide (NMF). Thirty-five workers were selected from a two-stage field investigation strategy and were classified into four groups based on DMF exposure and co-exposure levels. Breathing-zone air concentrations of DMF, MEK, and TOL as well as dermal DMF exposure were determined. Post-shift U-DMF and U-NMF levels were determined for each individual. U-DMF concentrations were significantly higher in high-DMF groups than in low-DMF groups, but U-NMF concentrations were significantly (P<0.05) lower in the high-DMF-high-co-exposure group than in the high-DMF-low-co-exposure group; there were no significant differences between two low-DMF groups. The ratio of U-NMF to U-DMF showed the biotransformation from DMF to NMF was significantly suppressed at high co-exposure (P<0.001) for high-DMF exposure groups, possibly because of competitive inhibition of CYP2E1, the responsible enzyme involved. Due to the ubiquity of MEK/TOL in DMF-exposed occupational settings, the biological exposure index for occupational DMF exposure should be re-evaluated at high co-exposure levels.