Neurobehavioral effects of methyl bromide inhalation exposures

W. K. Anger, J. V. Setzer, J. M. Russo, W. S. Brightwell, R. G. Wait, B. L. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Methyl bromide, a neurotoxic agent with a permissible US exposure limit of 20 ppm, is used primarily as a fumigant by an estimated 75,000 workers in the United States. This project was developed to evaluate the neurobehavioral effects of chronic and subchronic exposure to methyl bromide. One group of rats and rabbits was exposed to 65 ppm of methyl bromide for a total exposure of 4 25-hr weeks, or 100 hr, and rats were exposed to 55 ppm of methyl bromide for a total exposure of 36 30-hr weeks, or 1,080 hr. Comparable control groups were given similar treatment, but no exposure. Behavioral tests of open field activity and limb coordination were conducted weekly during both phases of the experiment with rats, and eye-blink reflexes were measured weekly in rabbits. Nerve conduction velocity measurements were taken weekly from both rats and rabbits during the 65-ppm 4-week exposures and monthly from rats during the 55-ppm 40-week exposures. Exposure to 65 ppm for 4 weeks significantly reduced eyeblink responses and nerve conduction velocity in rabbits but had no effect on rats. Exposure to 55 ppm of methyl bromide for 36 weeks had no effect on nerve conduction velocity, open-field activity, or coordination in rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health
Issue numberSuppl. 4
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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