Oxidative Stress Parameters, Selenium Levels, DNA Damage, and Phthalate Levels in Plastic Workers.
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Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) is the most widely used phthalate. DEHP is highly used in PVC floorings and PVC windows and carpeting. The objective of this study was to determine sex hormone levels, oxidative stress parameters, selenium levels, DNA damage, and phthalate levels in plastics workers (n = 24, age = 20-58 years) working in the production of rubber mechanical goods and exposed to DEHP in workplace. The control group (n = 29, age = 25-54, all male) was selected from age-matched healthy adults. Antioxidant parameters and DNA damage were determined by spectrophotometry. Selenium levels were determined by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Plasma hormone levels were measured by chemiluminescence microparticle immunoassay. Plasma phthalate levels were determined by high-pressure liquid chromatography. Plastic workers had lower serum testosterone and free T4 levels and higher follicle-stimulating hormone levels vs. controls. Liver enzyme activities were markedly higher in workers vs. controls. There were also increases in plasma glutathione peroxidase levels and marked decreases in plasma selenium and erythrocyte total glutathione levels in plastics workers (P < 0.05 vs. control). Plasma 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine levels were 14-fold higher in plastics workers than in controls. Plasma DEHP and mono(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate were also markedly higher in workers vs. controls. The results of this study show that occupational exposure to DEHP may lead to disturbances in sex hormones, increased liver problems, higher oxidative stress and DNA damage levels, and lower trace element concentrations in workers. More comprehensive and mechanistic studies with higher numbers of subjects are needed to show the unwanted effects of occupational exposure to DEHP.
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