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Inhalant Abuse Detection and Evaluation in Young Tunisians

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Occupational exposure biological monitoring techniques were applied for the diagnosis of inhalation abuse and for the evaluation of the levels of exposure to benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, and n-hexane, in 44 Tunisian adolescents and children suspected for volatile substance addiction. Urinary trans,trans-muconic acid, hippuric acid (HA), mandelic acid, and methylhippuric acids determinations were performed by high performance liquid chromatography with a photodiode array detector, and urinary o-cresol (o-Cr) and 2,5-hexanedione (HD) were extracted simultaneously and measured using gas chromatography with a flame ionization detector. Given the high linearity ranges, HD and o-Cr occupational exposure monitoring techniques could be applied without modification. However, urinary sample dilution was necessary before HA analysis. Concentrations were compared with the maxima of normal values (MNVs) in the general population and to the biological exposure indices (BEIs) used in occupational toxicology. Values as high as 6610-fold the MNV and 68 times the BEI were registered. The subjects showed high exposure to toluene and hexane. Measured metabolites HA and/or o-Cr and HD enabled the easy detection and evaluation of exposure levels. The problem of inhalant abuse should be given more attention and treated through an effective prevention strategy.
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Keywords: 2,5-hexanedione; biological monitoring; forensic science; hippuric acid; inhalant abuse; mandelic acid; methylhippuric acids; o-cresol; solvents; trans,trans-muconic acid

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratoires de Biologie et de Toxicologie Professionnelle, Institut de Santé et de Sécurité au Travail, UR-06-ISST-01, 5 Boulevard M. Khaznadar 1007 Tunis, Tunisia. 2: Unité de Recherche Toxicologie et Environnement, CAMU, Laboratoire de Toxicologie, 10 Rue Aboulkacem Chabbi 1008 Tunis, Tunisia.

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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