Ethylbenzene-Induced Hearing Loss, Neurobehavioral Function, and Neurotransmitter Alterations in Petrochemical Workers
Objective To estimate hearing loss, neurobehavioral function, and neurotransmitter alteration induced by ethylbenzene in petrochemical workers.
Methods From two petrochemical plants, 246 and 307 workers exposed to both ethylbenzene and noise were recruited—290 workers exposed to noise only from a power station plant and 327 office personnel as control group, respectively. Hearing and neurobehavioral functions were evaluated. Serum neurotransmitters were also determined.
Results The prevalence of hearing loss was much higher in petrochemical groups than that in power station and control groups (P < 0.05). Compared with the control group, scores of neurobehavioral function reflecting learning and memory were decreased in petrochemical workers (P < 0.05), as well as acetylcholinesterase activity. Negative correlation was shown between neurobehavioral function and acetylcholinesterase.
Conclusions Ethylbenzene exposure might be associated with hearing loss, neurobehavioral function impairment, and imbalance of neurotransmitters.