Controlled human exposure to methyl tertiary butyl ether in gasoline

Symptoms, psychophysiologic and neurobehavioral responses of self-reported sensitive persons

Nancy Fiedler, K. Kelly-McNeil, S. Mohr, P. Lehrer, R. E. Opiekun, C. W. Lee, T. Wainman, R. Hamer, Clifford Weisel, R. Edelberg, P. J. Lioy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The 1990 Clean Air Act mandated oxygenation of gasoline in regions where carbon monoxide standards were not met. To achieve this standard, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) was increased to 15% by volume during winter months in many locations. Subsequent to the increase of MTBE in gasoline, commuters reported increases in symptoms such as headache, nausea, and eye, nose, and throat irritation. The present study compared 12 individuals selected based on self-report of symptoms (self-reported sensitives; SRSs) associated with MTBE to 19 controls without self-reported sensitivities. In a double-blind, repeated measures, controlled exposure, subjects were exposed for 15 min to clean air, gasoline, gasoline with 11% MTBE, and gasoline with 15% MTBE. Symptoms, odor ratings, neurobehavioral performance on a task of driving simulation, and psychophysiologic responses (heart and respiration rate, end-tidal CO2, finger pulse volume, electromyograph, finger temperature) were measured before, during, and immediately after exposure. Relative to controls, SRSs reported significantly more total symptoms when exposed to gasoline with 15% MTBE than when exposed to gasoline with 11% MTBE or to clean air. However, these differences in symptoms were not accompanied by significant differences in neurobehavioral performance or psychophysiologic responses. No significant differences in symptoms or neurobehavioral or psychophysiologic responses were observed when exposure to gasoline with 11% MTBE was compared to clean air or to gasoline. Thus, the present study, although showing increased total symptoms among SRSs when exposed to gasoline with 15% MTBE, did not support a dose-response relationship for MTBE exposure nor the symptom specificity associated with MTBE in epidemiologic studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-763
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Volume108
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

Fingerprint

Gasoline
Ether
Air
Fingers
Carbon Monoxide
Respiratory Rate
Pharynx
Nose
Self Report
Nausea
Headache
Epidemiologic Studies
Heart Rate

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Keywords

  • Controlled exposure
  • Methyl tertiary butyl ether
  • Neurologic
  • Psychophysiology
  • Self-reported sensitives
  • Symptoms

Cite this

Fiedler, Nancy ; Kelly-McNeil, K. ; Mohr, S. ; Lehrer, P. ; Opiekun, R. E. ; Lee, C. W. ; Wainman, T. ; Hamer, R. ; Weisel, Clifford ; Edelberg, R. ; Lioy, P. J. / Controlled human exposure to methyl tertiary butyl ether in gasoline : Symptoms, psychophysiologic and neurobehavioral responses of self-reported sensitive persons. In: Environmental health perspectives. 2000 ; Vol. 108, No. 8. pp. 753-763.
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Controlled human exposure to methyl tertiary butyl ether in gasoline : Symptoms, psychophysiologic and neurobehavioral responses of self-reported sensitive persons. / Fiedler, Nancy; Kelly-McNeil, K.; Mohr, S.; Lehrer, P.; Opiekun, R. E.; Lee, C. W.; Wainman, T.; Hamer, R.; Weisel, Clifford; Edelberg, R.; Lioy, P. J.

In: Environmental health perspectives, Vol. 108, No. 8, 01.01.2000, p. 753-763.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Kelly-McNeil, K.

AU - Mohr, S.

AU - Lehrer, P.

AU - Opiekun, R. E.

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