No acute effects of an exposure to 50 ppm methyl methacrylate on the upper airways
Purpose The German MAK value of methyl methacrylate has been fixed at 50 ppm. The aim of this study was to evaluate possible acute effects of an exposure to 50 ppm methyl methacrylate on the upper airways of human subjects.
Methods Twenty healthy subjects were exposed to 50 ppm methyl methacrylate and to air (sham) in an exposure chamber for 4 h according to a crossover design. Symptoms were assessed by the SPES questionnaire. Olfactory thresholds for n-butanol and mucociliary transport time were measured before and after exposure. Concentrations of interleukin 1ß and interleukin 8 were determined in nasal secretions taken after exposure. mRNA levels of interleukins 1ß, 6 and 8, tumor necrosis factor α, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, monocyte chemotactic protein 1, and cyclooxygenases 1 and 2 were measured in nasal epithelial cells, obtained after exposure. Possible effects were investigated by semiparametric and parametric crossover analyses.
Results The score of the item “irritation to the nose” was slightly elevated following exposure to methyl methacrylate (p ≤ 0.01). Olfactory functioning was not impaired. Mucociliary transport time did not change. Neither concentrations of interleukins in nasal secretions nor mRNA levels were elevated.
Conclusion Only minor irritating effects on the nose were observed. The acute exposure to 50 ppm methyl methacrylate did not cause any adverse effects. However, the results cannot be extrapolated to chronic exposure.