Selected Article


Effects of Occupational Toluene and Trichloroethylene Exposure on Liver Enzymes


Toluene and trichlorethylene are organic solvents which are widely used in industrial settings .Occupational exposure of these solvents may induce hepatic injury. In this study we determined the hepatic enzymes alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) of the workers who are occupationally exposed to toluene (n=152), trichloroethylene (n=125) , or both (n=77); group 1, group 2 and group 3 respectively. Comparison with a control group (n=158) whom are not occupationally exposed to any organic solvent was done.Regarding AST and ALT we observed a significant increase in solvent exposed (toluen, triccloroethylene(TCE) , toluen and TCE) groups when compared to non-exposed control group (p < 0.001). The median values of AST and ALT for solvent exposed groups did not exceed reference range. ALT levels were above reference levels in 5.3% of group 1, 7.2% of group 2 and 5.2% of group 3 . Also AST levels were above reference levels in 5.9% of Group 1, 4% of Group 2 and 3,9 % of Group 3. In all of the exposed groups, the percentage of above the reference level of both enzymes, were significantly higher than the control group. None of the controls had above the threshold enzyme levels. Exposed groups all had a ratio of ALT to AST (ALT/AST) higher than 1; 1.14, 1.2, 1.09 for group 1, group 2, and group 3 respectively.According to our results toluene and TCE does not cause acute hepatotoxicity but some elevation of ALT and AST is present. ALT and AST of occupationally solvent exposed workers should be routinely monitored and necessary precautions should be taken.