Relationship between acetone exposure concentration and health effects in acetate fiber plant workers

Toshihiko Satoh, Kazuyuki Omae, Hiroshi Nakashima, Toru Takebayashi, Hiroshi Matsumura, Toshio Kawai, Masahiro Nakaza, Haruhiko Sakurai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


In order to clarify the effects of acetone (AC) exposure on health, a cross-sectional study was carried out in 110 male AC-exposed and 67 male nonexposed shift workers. The AC workers ranged in age from 18.7 to 56.8 years (mean: 37.6 years) and in length of AC exposure from 0.5 to 34.3 years (mean: 14.9 years). The nonexposed workers ranged in age from 20.7 to 57.5 years (mean: 41.9 years). AC exposure levels assessed by personal passive monitors and biological monitoring indices measured at the end of the workshift were 19.6-1018 ppm in the breathing zone (AC-E, mean: 364 ppm), 2.5-422 ppm in alveolar air (AC-A, mean: 97.3 ppm) 4-220 mg/l in blood (AC-B, mean 66.0 ppm), and 0.75-170 mg/l in urine (AC-U, mean: 37.8 mg/l). Symptoms at the end of the workshift with good exposure-response relationships were eye irritation, tearing, and acetone odor, and symptoms within the previous 6 months with good exposure-response relationships were heavy, vague, or faint feeling in the head, nausea, loss of weight, and slow healing of an external wound. In the 30-44 year age range, simple reaction time and digit span scores in a short computerized neurobehavioral test battery were significantly lower in AC workers, but exposure-response relationships were not clear. Manifest Anxiety Scale scores, Self-rating Depression Scale scores, R-R interval variation on the ECG, hematological examinations, serum biochemistry examinations for liver function, and phagocytic activity of peripheral neutrophils did not show any AC-related differences between the two groups. In view of the reported findings, the current occupational exposure limit of 750 ppm recommended by many governmental and academic associations seems to be too high to prevent the health effects of AC observed in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-153
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996 Mar


  • Acetone
  • Adverse health effects
  • Epidemiology
  • Exposure-response relationship
  • Occupational exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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