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The sensitization potential of furfuryl alcohol.

Franko JL; Meade B; Jackson LG; Anderson SE
Toxicologist 2010 Mar; 114(1):66
Furfuryl alcohol-based resins are commonly used as binding agents in foundry sand-moulds and as a corrosion inhibitor in mortar, grout, and cement. When mixed with foundry sand and exposed to heat or acid catalysts furfuryl alcohol initiates polymerization or "curing" of the sand. As the curing proceeds, it causes the sand to become dimensionally stable and furfuryl alcohol is vaporized. Furfuryl alcohol is considered by the EPA to be a high volume production chemical with over 1 million pounds produced annually in the United States. This coupled with numerous uses provide considerable potential for exposure of workers and the general public to furfuryl alcohol and furfuryl alcohol-based resins. The potential for exposure to furfuryl alcohol exists though pulmonary, oral, and dermal routes of exposure. It has been reported to be highly toxic in laboratory animals with exposure to higher concentrations producing signs of central nervous system depression, such as headache, drowsiness, nausea and vomiting. Although furfuryl alcohol was nominated and evaluated for carcinogencity potential by the NTP, studies evaluating immunotoxicity are lacking. Limited human exposure data reports a higher incidence of asthma in foundry mold workers exposed to furan resin, suggesting a potential immunological effect. These studies were executed to evaluate the immunotoxic potential of furfuryl alcohol following exposure including the dermal route. Furfuryl alcohol was tested in a combined irritancy local lymph node assay (LLNA) that also examined irritancy. It was identified to be an irritant at high concentrations and a sensitizer with an EC3 value of 25.6% resulting in classification as a mild sensitizer. Significant increases were observed in the B220+ and IgE+B220+ cell populations in the draining lymph nodes after exposure to furfuryl concentrations of 25% and 75% respectively. No elevation in total serum IgE levels were observed after exposure to any concentration of furfuryl alcohol. These results suggest that furfuryl alcohol may function as a T-cell mediated sensitizer.
Alcohols; Vapors; Biological-effects; Cell-biology; Cellular-reactions; Chemical-hypersensitivity; Chemical-properties; Environmental-exposure; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Immune-system-disorders; Inhalation-studies; Laboratory-animals; Laboratory-testing; Molecular-biology; Respiratory-hypersensitivity; Respiratory-irritants; Statistical-analysis; Toxic-effects; Toxic-vapors
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Construction; Manufacturing
Source Name
The Toxicologist. Society of Toxicology 49th Annual Meeting and ToxExpo, March 7-11, 2010, Salt Lake City, Utah
Page last reviewed: January 27, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division