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Drug Chem Toxicol. 1989 Mar;12(1):39-48.

Two-week aerosol inhalation study on polyethylene glycol (PEG) 3350 in F-344 rats.

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Bushy Run Research Center, Union Carbide Corporation, Export, PA 15632.


PEGs in the 3000 to 4000 MW range are used in many pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications; they produce little ocular or dermal irritation and have extremely low acute and subchronic toxicity by oral and dermal routes of administration. However, little information exists on the potential of aerosols of these materials to produce adverse health effects. F-344 rats were exposed to aerosols of PEG 3350 (20% w:w in water) at 0, 109, 567, or 1008 (highest attainable) mg/m3 for 6 hr/d, 5 d/wk for 2 wk. No exposure-related toxicity was found with regard to clinical signs, ophthalmology, serum chemistry, urinalysis, or gross pathology. Exposure-related effects included: a 50% increase in the neutrophil count (males only) at 1008 mg/m3; decreased body weight gain (16%) for both the 567 and 1008 mg/m3 groups (males only); absolute lung weights of both sexes were increased 10 and 18% for the 567 and 1008 mg/m3 groups, respectively. A slight increase in the number of macrophages in the alveoli was the only change observed histologically in all PEG 3350-exposed groups. Therefore, inhalation of aerosols of PEG 3350 at concentrations up to 1008 mg/m3 produced relatively little toxicity in rats, the lung was the target organ, and the no-observable-effect-level was between 109 to 567 mg/m3.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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