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Acute Effects of Some Volatile Organic Compounds Emitted From Water-Based Paints

Ernstgård, Lena PhD; Löf, Agneta PhD; Wieslander, Gunilla PhD; Norbäck, Dan PhD; Johanson, Gunnar PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2007 - Volume 49 - Issue 8 - p 880-889
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181161ced
Original Articles

Objective: Acute effects during controlled exposure to some of the volatile organic compounds emitted from water-based paints were evaluated.

Methods: Healthy volunteers (10 atopics, 10 nonatopics, and 10 painters) were exposed to a mixture of propyleneglycol, texanol, diethyleneglycol monoethylether, diethyleneglycol monobutyl ether, and dipropyleneglycol monomethyl ether at a total concentration of 35 mg/m3 (G), a mixture of G and ammonia (15 mg/m3) (GA), and clean air (C).

Results: Subjective ratings of irritation in eyes, nose, throat, and dyspnea were significantly higher during the G and GA conditions, when compared with during the C condition. Nasal mucosal swelling was observed after G but not after GA exposure. No effects of the exposure on the pulmonary function, markers of inflammation in nasal lavages, and renal function in urine were seen.

Conclusion: Exposure to G and GA caused mild irritation in eyes, nose, and airways.

From the Work Environment Toxicology (Dr Ernstgård, Mr Johanson), Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Toxicology and Risk Assessment, (Dr Löf), National Institute for Working Life, Stockholm, Sweden; and Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Dr Wieslander, Dr Norbäck), University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.

Address correspondence to: Lena Ernstgård, PhD, Work Environment Toxicology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden; E-mail:

©2007The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine