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Experimental exposure to methyl teriary-butyl ether: II. Acute effects in humans
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences. (Arbets- och miljömedicin)
1998 (English)In: Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, ISSN 0041-008X, E-ISSN 1096-0333, Vol. 148, no 2, 281-287 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) is widely used in gasoline as an oxygenate and octane enhancer. Acute effects, such as headache, nausea, and nasal and ocular irritation, have been associated with the exposure to gasoline containing MTBE. The aim of this study was to assess acute health effects up to the Swedish occupational exposure limit value, both with objective methods and a questionnaire. Ten healthy male volunteers were exposed to MTBE vapor for 2 h at three levels (5, 25, and 50 ppm), during light physical work (50 W). All subjects rated the degree of irritative symptoms, discomfort, and CNS effects before, during, and after all three exposure occasions using a questionnaire. Answers were given on a 100-mm visual analog scale, graded from "not at all" to "almost unbearable." Ocular (redness, tear film break-up time, self-reported tear film break-up time, conjunctival epithelial damage, and blinking frequency) and nasal (mouth and nasal peak expiratory flow, acoustic rhinometry, biochemical inflammatory markers, and cells in nasal lavage) measurements were performed mainly at the highest exposure level. The ratings of solvent smell increased dramatically (ratings up to 50% of the scale) as the volunteers entered the chamber and declined slowly with time (p < 0.05, repeated-measures ANOVA). All other questions were rated from "not at all" to "hardly at all" (0-10% of the scale) with no significant relation to exposure. The eye measurements showed no effects of MTBE exposure. Blockage index, a measure of nasal airway resistance calculated from the peak expiratory flows, increased significantly after exposure; however, the effect was not related to exposure level. In addition, a nonsignificant tendency of decreased nasal volume was seen in the acoustic rhinometry measurements, but with no clear dose-effect relationship. In conclusion, our study suggests no or minimal acute effects of MTBE vapor upon short-term exposure at relatively high levels.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1998. Vol. 148, no 2, 281-287 p.
Keyword [en]
acute effects, exposure, gasoline, human, methyltertiary-butyl ether, MTBE, oxygenated fuels, TBA;tertiary-butyl alcohol
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-54759DOI: 10.1006/taap.1997.8342PubMedID: 9473536OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-54759DiVA: diva2:82668
Available from: 2008-10-17 Created: 2008-10-17 Last updated: 2011-01-13Bibliographically approved

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