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Environ Health Perspect. 1993 Dec; 101(Suppl 6): 133–141.
PMCID: PMC1520019
Research Article

Neurotoxic effects of gasoline and gasoline constituents.


This overview was developed as part of a symposium on noncancer end points of gasoline and key gasoline components. The specific components included are methyl tertiary butyl ether, ethyl tertiary butyl ether, tertiary amyl methyl ether, butadiene, benzene, xylene, toluene, methyl alcohol, and ethyl alcohol. The overview focuses on neurotoxic effects related to chronic low-level exposures. A few general conclusions and recommendations can be made based on the results of the studies to date. a) All the compounds reviewed are neuroactive and, as such, should be examined for their neurotoxicity. b) For most of the compounds, there is a substantial margin of safety between the current permissible exposure levels and levels that would be expected to cause overt signs of neurotoxicity in humans. This is not the case for xylene, toluene, and methanol, however, where neurologic effects are observed at or below the current Threshold Limit Value. c) For most of the compounds, the relationship between chronic low-level exposure and subtle neurotoxic effects has not been studied. Studies therefore should focus on examining the dose-response relationship between chronic low-level exposure and subtle changes in central nervous system function.

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