Examination of the Relationships Between Environmental Exposures to Volatile Organic Compounds and Biochemical Liver Tests: Application of Canonical Correlation Analysis

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This study was to explore the relationships between personal exposure to 10 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and biochemical liver tests with the application of canonical correlation analysis. Data from a subsample of the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used. Serum albumin, total bilirubin (TB), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and γ-glutamyl transferase (GGT) served as the outcome variables. Personal exposures to benzene, chloroform, ethylbenzene, tetrachloroethene, toluene, trichloroethene, o-xylene, m-,p-xylene, 1,4-dichlorobenzene, and methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) were assessed through the use of passive exposure monitors worn by study participants. The first two canonical correlations were 0.3218 and 0.2575, suggesting a positive correlation mainly between the six VOCs (benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, o-xylene, m-,p-xylene, and MTBE) and the three biochemical liver tests (albumin, ALP, and GGT) and a positive correlation mainly between the two VOCs (1,4-dichlorobenzene and tetrachloroethene) and the two biochemical liver tests (LDH and TB). Subsequent multiple linear regressions show that exposure to benzene, toluene, or MTBE was associated with serum albumin, while exposure to tetrachloroethene was associated with LDH and total bilirubin. In conclusion, exposure to certain VOCs as a group or individually may influence certain biochemical liver test results in the general population.