Background: The relationship between occupational exposures to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and cardiovascular effects among hairdressing assistants has not been well characterized. Aims: To investigate whether or not exposure to VOCs was associated with autonomic dysfunction, inflammation and oxidative stress in hairdressing assistants. Methods: We recruited 62 young healthy assistants working in different hair salons inTaipei. Blood samples were taken from each assistant and heart rate variability (HRV) indices were recorded. VOCs were measured at each assistant's workplace. Mixed-effects models were used to examine the association between blood markers, HRV and VOCs. Results: Exposure to VOCs was associated with increases in serum C-reactive protein (CRP) and 8-hydroxy-2″-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) as well as decreases in HRV indices. The effect of VOCs exposure on the health parameters measured in this study was greatest during the days on which the subjects were working. Conclusions: Occupational exposure to VOCs in hair salons can lead to increases in serum CRPand 8-OHdG levels and decreases in HRV indices. Time spent away from the workplace could modify the effects these exposures have on the health parameters described above in these assistants.
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