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Am J Ind Med. 1981;2(4):365-78.

Evaluation of the neurophysiologic effects of 1,2-propylene glycol dinitrate by quantitative ataxia and oculomotor function tests.


1,2-Propylene glycol dinitrate (PGDN), a nitrated ester found in the torpedo propellant Otto Fuel II, has been suspected of causing neurologic and cardiovascular effects. This study evaluated the possible acute and chronic neurophysiologic toxicity of PGDN in U.S. Navy torpedo facilities. The test procedures included a medical and occupational history, neuro-ophthalmologic examination, and quantitative tests of both oculomotor function and ataxia. A study population of 87 workers chronically exposed (CE) to PGDN during torpedo maintenance procedures was compared to a group of 21 controls (CON). Although workers often complained of vascular effects (headaches, nasal congestion), no evidence of chronic neurotoxicity was found, even among a subgroup of workers (CEsub) with the longest total duration of exposure. To detect possible acute effects, 29 subjects from the study group were tested before and immediately after PGDN exposure during a torpedo maintenance procedure or turnaround (TA). These personnel had a statistically significant decline in saccade velocity and a prolongation of saccade delay time, even though most peak airborne concentrations of PGDN were well below 0.2 ppm.

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