Aims: To examine the association between 2-methoxyethanol (2-ME) exposure and haematological effects, as well as the recovery from these haematological effects with continuous reduction in exposure to 2-ME. Methods: Twenty nine exposed and 90 non-exposed workers were recruited. Haematological parameters, eight hour full shift personal exposure to 2-ME, and urinary 2-methoxyacetic acid (MAA) were repeatedly measured in three consecutive surveys within six months. Results: Results of haematological examination in the first exposure survey showed that haemoglobin, packed cell volume, and red blood cell count in the male exposed workers were significantly lower than those in the comparison workers. The frequency of anaemia in the exposed group (42%) was significantly higher than that in the comparison group (3%). The haematological effects were significantly associated with the urinary MAA of exposed workers. The haematological effects had returned to normal in the first follow up survey 2.5 months later, when a reduction in 2-ME exposure was noted. Haematological results of the second follow up examination six months later remained normal. The mean airborne exposure of 2-ME in the three surveys dropped from 35.7 to 2.65, then to 0.55 ppm. The mean urinary MAA of exposed workers in the three surveys was reduced from 57.7 to 24.6, then to 13.5 mg/g creatinine (n = 29). The reduction in exposure through both inhalation and potential dermal contact with 2-ME might account for the haematological recovery. Conclusion: 2-ME is a haematological toxin which leads to anaemia in exposed workers. However, the toxic haematological effects of 2-ME persist for only a short period of time after cessation or reduction of exposure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health