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Neurobehavioural effects of short duration exposures to acetone and methyl ethyl ketone.
Dick-RB; Setzer-JV; Taylor-BJ; Shukla-R
Br J Ind Med 1989 Feb; 46(2):111-121
The neurobehavioral effects of short term exposure to acetone (67641) and methylethylketone (78933) (MEK) were studied in humans. The study group consisted of 129 university students (66 females), 18 to 32 years old. They were exposed to 250 parts per million (ppm) acetone, 200ppm MEK, or 125ppm acetone plus 100ppm MEK twice for 4 hours in an environmental chamber. A cocktail containing 95 percent ethanol (64175) at 0.84ml/kg was administered for comparison. Two placebo groups were also used. During exposure subjects completed a test battery containing four psychomotor tests, a sensorimotor test, and a profile of moods scale. Breath (alveolar) and blood samples were collected during and 90 minutes and 20 hours after exposure and analyzed for acetone, MEK, and ethanol. Acetone caused slight, but statistically significant impairments in performance on an auditory tone discrimination task in the psychomotor battery. Acetone caused a 29 percent significant decrease in performance of the male subjects on the profile of moods test. The changes in performance paralleled the blood acetone concentrations. Neither MEK alone or MEK plus acetone exerted a significant effect in performance on any of the tests. Ethanol significantly impaired performance on auditory tone discrimination and tracking tests in the psychomotor battery and marginally significantly affected visual vigilance in the psychomotor battery and postural sway in the sensorimotor test. These effects were produced by blood ethanol concentrations of 0.07 to 0.08 percent. The authors conclude that 4 hours' exposure to acetone at a concentration corresponding to the current NIOSH recommended exposure limit induces mild decrements in performance on some behavioral measures. MEK neither potentiates the effects of acetone nor causes such effects itself.
NIOSH-Author; Organic-solvents; Ketones; Alcohols; Inhalation-studies; Behavioral-testing; Task-performance; Sex-factors; Blood-samples; Neurotoxicity
67-64-1; 78-93-3; 64-17-5
Issue of Publication
British Journal of Industrial Medicine
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division