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Journal Article 
Monitoring of acid-base status of workers at a methyl methacrylate and polymethyl methacrylate production plant in Bulgaria 
Prakova, GR 
AIHA Journal
ISSN: 1542-8117 
This study was carried out on 104 workers at three work operations and a control (nonproduction) area, within a methyl methacrylate (MMA)/polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) production facility in Bulgaria. Airborne monitoring was conducted over a 10-year period for MMA and the reactant chemicals methanol and acetone cyanhydrine at the MMA operation, and MMA was monitored at the PMMA operation. Acid-base status of the workers was evaluated using traditional criteria (pH, pCO(2), pO(2), and HCO(3) in plasma). Data from retrospective monitoring of air levels of the chemicals were compared with the acid-base status of workers at the plant. In some cases air concentrations exceeded the threshold limit value, with the highest percentage of overexposure occurring with airborne MMA in the PMMA production operation. Acid-base disruption indicated by reductions in plasma pH and HCO(3) was found for all groups except the control population. The highest percentage reduction was associated with PMMA production workers. Additionally, respiratory acidosis, indicated by increased pCO(2), was noted in the MMA production and maintenance groups, implying that the response to MMA exposure may involve both the metabolic and respiratory acidosis component. This study was unique in that the combined exposure to MMA and the precursor chemical (methanol) were shown to produce the same effects in workers. It is suggested that when combined exposure occurs, disruption of acid-base status may occur. Enforcement of PPM requirements for coveralls and gloves should prevent skin contamination. Additionally, improvement of equipment in MMA and PMMA production areas is recommended: (1) automation of some manual operations; (2) use of respiratory protection during equipment cleaning; and (3) installation of local ventilation when applicable. 
Acid-Base Imbalance 
Chemical Industry 
Occupational Exposure 
Polymethyl Methacrylate 
Protective Clothing 
Vasodilator Agents 
• Methanol (Non-Cancer)
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