Dimethylformamide-induced liver damage among synthetic leather workers

Jung Der Wang, Ming Yang Lai, Jai Ming Lin, Jen Ron Chiang, Shwu Jen Shiau, Wu Shiu Chang, Jui San Chen

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59 Citations (Scopus)


Prevalence of liver injury associated with dimethylformamide (DMF) exposure was determined. Medical examinations, liver function tests, and creatine phosphokinase (CPK) determinations were performed on 183 of 204 (76%) employees of a synthetic leather factory. Air concentrations of solvents were measured with personal samplers and gas chromatography. The concentration of DMF in air to which each worker was exposed was categorized. High exposure concentrations of DMF (i.e., 25–60 ppm) were significantly associated with elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels (ALT> 35 IU/l), a result that did not change even after stratification by hepatitis B carrier status. Modeling by logistic regression demonstrated that exposure to high concentrations of DMF was associated with an elevated ALT (p =.01), whereas hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) was slightly but independently associated with an elevated ALT (p =.07). In those workers who had normal ALT values, there occurred still significantly higher mean ALT and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activities, especially among those who were not HBsAg carriers. A significant association existed between elevated CPK levels and exposure to DMF. However, an analysis of the CPK isoenzyme among 143 workers did not reveal any specific damage to muscles. This outbreak of liver injury among synthetic leather workers is ascribed to DMF. It is recommended that the occupational standard for DMF and its toxicity among HBsAg carriers be evaluated further.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-166
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Environmental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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