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The hematologic effects of BTEX exposure among elderly residents in Nanjing: a cross-sectional study

Chen, Qi, Sun, Hong, Zhang, Jiayao, Xu, Yan, Ding, Zhen
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.11 pp. 10552-10561
BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), benzene, blood sampling, cross-sectional studies, elderly, erythrocytes, ethylbenzene, health effects assessments, hematocrit, hemoglobin, pollution, questionnaires, toluene, xylene
Few studies have examined the effects of environmental concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX) on the hematologic system of residents near a petrochemical complex. This study evaluated the potential effects of blood BTEX concentrations on the hematologic parameters of residents in a community near a petrochemical complex (contaminated group) and another community free of known petrochemical pollution (control group). Volunteer residents were randomly recruited. Each participant completed a questionnaire and donated blood samples to evaluate blood BTEX concentrations and hematologic parameters. We found the mean concentrations of blood BTEX of the contaminated group were 1.2 to 6.7 times higher than the control group. Multiple hematologic parameters of participants were significantly different between the two study groups. Inverse associations were found for ln-transformed blood benzene concentrations with mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) (β = − 2.75) and platelet counts (β = −8.18). Several weaker associations were also observed between other compounds and multiple hematologic parameters. Our results suggest that the residents living near petrochemical complexes have higher blood BTEX concentrations. Furthermore, the increased blood BTEX levels in residents are associated with the reduction in RBC counts, hemoglobin concentration, hematocrit, MCHC, and platelet counts. This study provided particularly important information for the health risk assessment of residents living near petrochemical complexes.