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Evaluation of the neurophysiologic effects of 1,2-propylene glycol dinitrate by quantitative ataxia and oculomotor function tests.

Horvath EP; Ilka RA; Boyd J; Markham T
Am J Ind Med 1981; 2(4):365-378
A study was made of possible neurotoxicity due to chronic or acute exposure to 1,2-propylene-glycol-dinitrate (6423434) (PGDN), a nitrated ester used in the torpedo propellant Otto-Fuel-II, in military personnel exposed during torpedo maintenance procedures. Oculomotor function and ataxia were measured, along with medical and occupational histories and neuroophthalmologic examination, in 87 workers (mean age 34 years) who were chronically exposed and in a subset of 29 workers during acute exposure. A comparison group of 21 nonexposed workers (mean age 30 years) was also studied. Comparison had less than one half the weekly alcohol intake of exposed subjects. Saccade movement was measured in terms of maximum velocity, accuracy, and delay time. Quantitative ataxia tests to grade voluntary muscular movement while walking or standing were performed and analyzed using a quantitative test battery and scoring system. Air monitoring turnaround (acute exposure) revealed PGDN varying from 0 to 0.22 part per million (ppm), with 88 percent of samples showing less than 0.1ppm. Workers reported headache, congestion, eye irritation, and dizziness during past PGDN exposures, although none were reported during the monitored turnarounds. These workers showed a decline in mean saccade velocity and saccade delay following PGDN exposure, but not in other oculomotor or ataxic parameters. No changes in oculomotor or ataxic parameters were detected in the total or the chronically exposed population in the absence of acute exposure, even in a group of workers with at least 60 months of exposure. Within the exposed group, correlations were found for saccade maximum velocity with total duration of exposure and with exposure index in terms of turnaround months, and for saccade delay time with age. The authors conclude that acute exposure to PGDN can cause transient subclinical neurologic alterations, but there is no evidence of chronic neurotoxicologic effects.
NIOSH-Author; Military-personnel; Occupational-exposure; Fuels; Glycols; Nitrates; Epidemiology; Chronic-exposure; Nervous-system-function; Air-contamination; Acute-exposure; Eye-movement
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Journal Article
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American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division