Exposure to diisocyanates is a known occupational hazard. One method for monitoring occupational exposure is by analyzing biomarkers in hydrolyzed urine and plasma. The half-life of the biomarkers in plasma is about 3 weeks, and the urinary elimination is divided into one fast (hours) and one slow phases (weeks). Polymorphism in glutathione S-transferase enzymes (GST) is earlier shown to modify the metabolism. The aim of the study was to assess whether biomarkers of exposure in urine collected after two non-exposed days correlate with levels in plasma and whether they can be used as a measure for long-term exposure to aromatic diisocyanates and further whether polymorphisms in GST influenced the correlations.
Biomarkers of exposure was analyzed in urine and blood samples collected from 24 workers, exposed to at least one of toluene-, methylenediphenyl- or naphthalene diisocyanate, on a Monday morning after at least two unexposed days. Moreover, genotype was determined for 19 of the workers.
The corresponding specific gravity-adjusted biomarkers in urine and plasma levels for the different diisocyanates correlated well (r between 0.689 and 0.988). When taking all samples together, the correlation coefficient was 0.926. Polymorphism in the GSTM1 genotype seemed to modify the association.
Urine collected after two unexposed days can possibly be used as long-term biomarker of exposure for aromatic diisocyanates.