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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1990 Nov-Dec;12(6):649-52.

Neurobehavioral and sensory irritant effects of controlled exposure to a complex mixture of volatile organic compounds.

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Health Effects Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711.


Subjective reactions of discomfort, impaired air quality, irritation of mucosal membranes, and impaired memory have been reported in chemically sensitive subjects during exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in new buildings. Sixty-six normal healthy male subjects aged 18-39 were exposed for 2.75 hr to a complex VOC mixture at 0 and 25 mg/m3. Each subject completed control and exposure sessions at one-week intervals in counterbalanced order. Measurements included comfort ratings of eye, nose and throat irritation, symptom questionnaire and computerized behavioral tests. Subjects found the odor of VOCs unpleasantly strong and reported that VOC exposure degraded air quality, increased headache and produced general discomfort. VOC exposure did not affect performance on any behavioral tests.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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