Assessment of urinary thiodiglycolic acid exposure in school-aged children in the vicinity of a petrochemical complex in central Taiwan

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School-aged children living in the vicinity of vinyl chloride (VCM)/polyvinyl chloride (PVC) factories may have an increased risk of exposure to hazardous air pollutants.


We aimed to evaluate the urinary thiodiglycolic acid (TDGA) level, as TDGA is a major metabolite of VCM, for students at elementary schools near a petrochemical complex in central Taiwan.


We recruited 343 students from 5 elementary schools based on distance to the VCM/PVC factory. First-morning urine and blood samples were obtained from our subjects from October 2013 to September 2014. Urine samples were analyzed for urinary creatinine and TDGA using LC/MS–MS. Hepatitis virus infection were assessed using blood samples. We determined their vitamin consumption, resident location, parent’s employment, and other demographic or lifestyle characteristics using a questionnaire.


Median urinary TDGA levels for 316 students at 5 elementary schools from the closest (<.9 km) to the farthest (˜8.6 km) with respect to the petrochemical complex were 147.6, 95.5, 115.5, 86.8, and 17.3 μg/g creatinine, respectively. After adjusting for age, gender, hepatitis virus infection, vitamin B consumption, passive smoking, and home to source distance, we found that urinary TDGA levels for the closest students was significantly higher than those at other schools. Further, median urinary TDGA levels for students during school time were 4.1-fold higher than those during summer vacation.


After adjusting for confounders, urinary TDGA levels for the school-aged children decreased with increasing distances between the elementary schools and the petrochemical complex.

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