11 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: After a plastic reprocessing factory began to operate in August 2004, the residents around the factory in Neyagawa, Osaka, Japan, began to complain of symptoms. Therefore, we conducted an exposure assessment and a population-based epidemiological study in 2006. Methods: To assess exposure, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and total VOCs were measured at two locations in the vicinity of the factory. In the population-based study, a total of 3,950 residents were targeted. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information about subjects' mucocutaneous or respiratory symptoms. Using logistic regression models, we compared the prevalence of symptoms in July 2006 by employing the farthest area from the factory as a reference, and prevalence odds ratios (PORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated. Results: The concentration of total VOCs was higher in the vicinity of the factory. The prevalence of mucocutaneous and respiratory symptoms was the highest among the residents in the closest area to the factory. Some symptoms were significantly increased among the residents within 500 m of the factory compared with residents of an area 2800 m from the factory: e.g., sore throat (POR=3.2, 95% CI: 1.3-8.0), eye itch (POR=3.0, 95% CI: 1.5-6.0), eye discharge (POR=6.0, 95% CI: 2.3-15.9), eczema (POR=3.0, 95% CI: 1.1-7.9) and sputum (POR=2.4, 95% CI: 1.1-5.1). Conclusions: Despite of the limitations of this study, these results imply a possible association of open-air VOCs with mucocutaneous and respiratory symptoms. Because this kind of plasticre cycling factory only recently came into operation, more attention should be paid to the operation of plastic recycling factories in the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Occupational Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Air pollutants
  • Environmental health
  • Mucocutaneous symptoms
  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Volatile organic chemicals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Does open-air exposure to volatile organic compounds near a plastic recycling factory cause health effects?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this