Occupational trichloroethylene (TCE) exposure can induce life-threatening generalized dermatitis accompanied by hepatitis: TCE hypersensitivity syndrome (HS). Since the patients’ exposure levels have not been fully clarified, this study estimated end-of-shift urinary concentrations of trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and their lower limit below which the disease occurrence was rare. TCA concentration was measured in 78 TCE HS patients whose urine was collected at admission between 2nd and 14th d after their last shift. Then a linear regression model was used to calculate the mean TCA concentration with 95% confidence interval (95% CI) and 95% prediction interval (95% PI) in the end-of-shift urine. The estimated mean concentration was 83 (95% CI, 49–140) mg/l with 95% PI 9.6–720 mg/l. TCA concentrations were also measured in the end-of-shift urine of 38 healthy workers involved in the same job as were the patients. The geometric mean and its 95% CI were 127 mg/l and 16–984 mg/l, respectively. The exposure levels in HS patients might have thus overlapped with those in workers without HS. Accordingly, it was suggested that HS occurred in the environment where the workers were exposed to the TCE concentration corresponding to the urinary TCA concentration as low as 10 mg/l.
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