Evaluation of a novel assay of potential toxicity/neurotoxicity of carpet emissions (VOCs) in mice.

Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association

PubMedID: 9146737

Stott WT, Beekman MJ, Johnson KA, Spencer PJ. Evaluation of a novel assay of potential toxicity/neurotoxicity of carpet emissions (VOCs) in mice. Food Chem Toxicol. 1997;35(2):241-54.
A private testing laboratory utilizing the whole-body plethysmograph/head-only exposure apparatus outlined in the respiratory irritation assay ASTM E981-84, along with a novel exposure regimen, has reported neurotoxic effects and mortality in mice exposed to relatively low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from a number of consumer products. This methodology was evaluated by exposing groups of mice, including unrestrained and sham-treated animals, to VOCs generated from a sample of carpet reported to be neurotoxic using the modified assay. General toxicological (haematological measurements, organ weights, gross pathology, histopathology) and specific neurotoxicity (functional observations, body temperature, histopathology of nervous tissues) parameters were evaluated. No effects related to exposure to carpet VOCs were observed in the mice. However, despite careful handling, a number of effects were observed which were attributed to the repeated restraint of mice in the ASTM E981 apparatus. These included a number of minor physical injuries, decreased body weights, altered thymus weights, compression damage to the liver and haemorrhage of the pituitary gland. It was concluded that the modification of the original ASTM E981 methodology may result in physical injuries and stress which may significantly affect any evaluation of toxicity and neurotoxicity in treated animals and result in inaccurate conclusions.