Risk Groups

The enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) is involved in the metabolism of ethanol; it converts acetaldehyde to acetate. Genetic polymorphisms may result in deficiency of this enzyme in some populations (e.g., Japanese and Native Americans). Complete deficiency of this enzyme, which is also involved in ethanol metabolism, results in intolerance to alcohol. As a result acetaldehyde may accumulate, leading to toxicity (Harbison, 1998).

Recreational ingestion of ethanol may put workers at increased risk of adverse effects following ethanol interaction with other workplace agents, see 'Metabolic interactions'.

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