Human experimental exposure study on the uptake and urinary elimination of N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) during simulated workplace conditions
The aim of this study was to investigate if the uptake of N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP), a widely used industrial chemical, increases after exposure to NMP in humid air compared to dry air. NMP has been described to be an airway irritant and a developmentally toxic compound. Six male volunteers were exposed to NMP, three at the time, for 8h in an exposure chamber. They were each exposed on four different occasions to air levels of 0 and 20mg NMP/m(3) in dry and humid air. Blood and urine were sampled before, during and up to 5 days after the end of the 8-h exposure. Plasma and urine were analysed for NMP and its metabolites, using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. There was no statistically significant increase in the total cumulated excretion of NMP and its metabolites in urine after exposure in humid air as compared to dry air. Furthermore, there were no differences in the levels of peak concentrations in either plasma or urine. Also, no differences were found in AUC between the exposures. However, there were large individual differences, especially for the exposure in humid air. A not previously identified metabolite in human, 2-pyrrolidone (2-P), was identified. The results do not support a significantly higher absorption of NMP at exposure in humid air as compared to dry air. However, the large individual differences support the use of biological monitoring for assessment of NMP exposure. In addition, 2-P was confirmed to be an NMP metabolite in humans. This may be of importance for the developmental toxicity of NMP since 2-P have been described to be a reproductively toxic substance.