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Environ Res. 1995 Oct;71(1):16-24.

Acute pulmonary toxicity of copper gallium diselenide, copper indium diselenide, and cadmium telluride intratracheally instilled into rats.

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National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


Acute toxicity studies were conducted on copper gallium diselenide (CGS), copper indium diselenide (CIS), and cadmium telluride (CT), three novel compounds used in the photovoltaic and semiconductor industries. Female Sprague-Dawley rats (six rats/dose) were administered 0, 12, 25, 50, or 100 mg/kg body wt of CGS, CIS, or CT by intratracheal instillation. At 72 hr after treatment, body weight gain was significantly decreased in the 100 mg/kg CIS group and in all CT dose groups. Lung weights were increased in most chemical-treated rats, with CT causing the greatest increase. Total numbers of cells in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were significantly increased in treated rats and were greatest in the 100 mg/kg CIS group. Differential cell counts of BALF demonstrated a marked decrease in the percentage of alveolar macrophages and an increase in the percentage of polymorphonuclear leukocytes in all dose groups of all three chemicals. Slight to moderate increases in lactate dehydrogenase activity were observed in BALF from CGS- and CIS-treated rats; marked increases were observed in CT-treated rats. BALF protein was significantly increased in rats treated with CIS and CT. Microscopic examination revealed lymphoid hyperplasia in lungs of rats treated with all three chemicals. CT caused necrosis of the terminal bronchiolar epithelium and epithelium of the alveolar duct region with inflammation, prominent fibrin exudates, and type II cell hyperplasia. CGS and CIS also caused intraalveolar inflammation and type II cell hyperplasia, but did not cause the necrosis and fibrin exudate observed in lungs of CT-treated rats. Based on changes in lung weight, BALF indices, and histopathology, CT was the most toxic for the lung; CIS had intermediate toxicity and CGS was the least toxic. The solubilities of CGS and CIS were relatively low and similar at both pH levels and do not readily explain the observed differences in pulmonary toxicity. The solubility of CdTe was considerably greater than that of CGS and CIS and likely contributed to the greater toxicity of this compound.

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