Influence of benzene exposure, fat content, and their interactions on erythroid-related hematologic parameters in petrochemical workers: A cross-sectional study

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Abstract

Background: Ubiquitously distributed benzene is a known hematotoxin. Increasing evidence has suggested that erythroid-related hematologic parameters may be sensitive to benzene exposure. Fat content, which is also closely associated with erythroid-related hematologic parameters, may affect the distribution and/or metabolism of benzene, and eventually benzene-induced toxicity. Methods: To explore the influence of benzene exposure, fat content, and their interactions on erythroid-related hematologic parameters, we recruited 1669 petrochemical workers and measured their urinary S-phenylmercapturic acid (SPMA) concentration and erythroid-related hematological parameters. Indices for fat content included body fat percentage (BF%), plasma total cholesterol (TC) and triglycerides (TG), and occurrence of fatty liver. Results: The dose-response curve revealed U-shaped nonlinear relationships of SPMA with hematocrit (HCT) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) (P-overall < 0.001, and P-nonlinear < 0.015), as well as positive linear associations and r-shaped nonlinear relationships of continuous fat content indices with erythroid-related hematological parameters (P-overall ≤0.005). We also observed modification effects of fat content on the associations between benzene exposure and erythroid-related hematological parameters, with workers of lower or higher BF% and TG more sensitive to benzene-induced elevation of MCHC (P interaction = 0.021) and benzene-induced decrease of HCT (P interaction = 0.050), respectively. We also found that some erythroid-related hematologic parameters differed between subgroups of workers with different SPMA levels and fat content combination. Conclusions: Our study suggested that benzene exposure, fat content, and their interactions may affect erythroid-related hematological parameters in petrochemical workers in a complex manner that are worthy of further investigation.

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Zhang, X., Deng, Q., He, Z., Li, J., Ma, X., Zhang, Z., … Xiao, Y. (2020). Influence of benzene exposure, fat content, and their interactions on erythroid-related hematologic parameters in petrochemical workers: A cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-08493-z

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