Blood Levels of Volatile Organic Compounds in Gulf Coast Residents

SSS health researcher Matthew Curry is a coauthor of an article published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology that describes a study to address concerns among Gulf Coast residents about ongoing exposures to volatile organic compounds such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, o-xylene, and m-xylene/p-xylene (BTEX). The study determined that, among these Gulf residents, smoking was the primary contributor to blood BTEX levels. Other factors were associated with benzene blood levels, but the mean concentration of these was nearly an order of magnitude below that of cigarette smokers. (Because BTEX is rapidly cleared from the body, blood levels represent exposures in only the past 24 hours.) Other authors of the article include researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, the National Center for Environmental Health, and the National Cancer Institute.

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