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J Occup Health year 2003 volume 45 number 4 page 215 - 222
Classification Original
Title Neuromotor Effects of Acute Ethanol Inhalation Exposure in Humans: A Preliminary Study
Author Veronique NADEAU1, Daniel LAMOUREUX2, Anne BEUTER2, 3, Michel CHARBONNEAU4 and Robert TARDIF1
Organization 1TOXHUM (Groupe de Recherche en Toxicologie Humaine), Departement de Sante Environnementale et Sante au Travail, Universite de Montreal, 2Centre de Neuroscience de la Cognition, Universite du Quebec a Montreal, Canada, 3Institut de Biologie, Laboratoire de Physiologie, Universite de Montpellier 1, France and 4INRS-Sante/Institut Armand Frappier, Pointe-Claire, Canada
Keywords Ethanol, Human, Vapors, Blood, Expired air, Neuromotor functions, Reaction time, Tremor
Correspondence R. Tardif, Universite de Montreal, Departement de Sante Environnementale et Sante au Travail C.P. 6128 Succursale Centre-Ville, H3C 5J7, Canada
Abstract Neuromotor Effects of Acute Ethanol Inhalation Exposure in Humans: A Preliminary Study: Veronique NADEAU, et al. TOXHUM (Groupe de Recherche en Toxicologie Humaine), Departement de Sante Environnementale et Sante au Travail, Universite de Montreal, Canada-Ethanol (ETOH) is added to unleaded gasoline to decrease environmental levels of carbon monoxide from automobiles emissions. Therefore, addition of ETOH in reformulated fuel will most likely increase and the involuntarily human exposure to this chemical will also increase. This preliminary study was undertaken to evaluate the possible neuromotor effects resulting from acute ETOH exposure by inhalation in humans. Five healthy non-smoking adult males, with no history of alcohol abuse, were exposed by inhalation, in a dynamic, controlled-environment exposure chamber, to various concentrations of ETOH (0, 250, 500 and 1,000 ppm in air) for six hours. Reaction time, body sway, hand tremor and rapid alternating movements were measured before and after each exposure session by using the CATSYSTM 7.0 system and a diadochokinesimeter. The concentrations of ETOH in blood and in alveolar air were also measured. ETOH was not detected in blood nor in alveolar air when volunteers were exposed to 250 and 500 ppm, but at the end of exposure to 1,000 ppm, blood and alveolar air concentrations were 0.443 mg/100ml and 253.1 ppm, respectively. The neuromotor tests did not show conclusively significant differences between the exposed and non-exposed conditions. In conclusion, this study suggests that acute exposure to ethanol at 1,000 ppm or lower or to concentrations that could be encountered upon refueling is not likely to cause any significant neuromotor alterations in healthy males.