Effects of Exposure to Mixed Organic Solvents on Blood Pressure in Non-Smoking Women Working in a Pharmaceutical Company
Some studies suggest that exposure to industrial solvents can affect blood pressure. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of a mixture of organic solvents on blood pressure in women working in a pharmaceutical company in Iran. Four hundred and thirty-three women were included in the study. Women working in packing units (group 1) were not exposed to the mixture of organic solvents, women in new laboratory units (group 2) were exposed to the mixture within the permitted range and women working in old laboratory units (group 3) were exposed to the mixture above the permitted limit. We compared systolic and diastolic blood pressures (SBP & DBP) and prevalence of hypertension and pre-hypertension among groups. The results revealed a significant difference in SBP and pre-hypertension (p<0.001) and hypertension (p<0.05) prevalence between the exposed and the control group, but DBP did not differ significantly. Logistic regression analysis showed a significant association between hypertension and exposure to mixed solvents. Odds ratio for hypertension in the group 2 and group 3 (exposed) workers was 2.36 and 3, respectively, compared to controls. Our results suggest that exposure to a mixture of organic solvents may increase SBP and hypertension and pre-hypertension prevalence in drug manufacture workers. Therefore, more attention should be paid to workers that work in such settings by periodically measuring blood pressure and implementing accurate and comprehensive programs to reduce exposure to organic solvents.