Assessment of 1,3-butadiene exposure in polymer production workers using HPRT mutations in lymphocytes as a biomarker

Marinel M. Ammenheuser, William E. Bechtold, Sherif Z. Abdel-Rahman, Judah I. Rosenblatt, Darlene A. Hastings-Smith, Jonathan B. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


1,3-Butadiene (BD), which is used to make styrene-butadiene rubber, is a potent carcinogen in mice and a probable carcinogen, associated with leukemia, in humans. We have previously used HPRT mutation as a biomarker to evaluate exposures to BD in a monomer production plant. We now report on a study of 49 workers in a styrene-butadiene rubber plant in which we used the concentration of the BD metabolite 1,2-dihydroxy-4-(N-acetylcysteinyl-S)-butane (M1) in urine as a biomarker of exposure and the frequency of HPRT variant (mutant) lymphocytes (Vf) as a biomarker of effect. Workers were assigned to high- and low-exposure groups based on historical information about work areas and jobs. Personal exposure to BD for one work shift was measured using a passive badge dosimeter. Each participant provided a urine specimen and blood sample at the end of the work shift and completed a questionnaire providing information on lifestyle, health, and work activities. The average BD exposures in the high- and low-exposure groups were significantly different, even after excluding two extreme values, (high 1.48 ppm; low 0.15 ppm, p < 0.002). This study was done in 1994 and 1995 before the establishment, in 1996, of the new permissible exposure limit of 1 ppm. Both the mean M1 and the HPRTVf were more than three times greater in the high-exposure group than in the low-exposure group (p < 0.0005). The three end points correlated with each other, with sample correlation coefficients between 0.4 and 0.6. The correlations among BD exposure and the biomarkers of internal exposure and genotoxicity suggest that occupational exposure to BD, in the range of 1-3 ppm, may be associated with adverse biological effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1249-1255
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Biological monitoring
  • Butadiene
  • HPRT mutations
  • Occupational health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment of 1,3-butadiene exposure in polymer production workers using HPRT mutations in lymphocytes as a biomarker'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this