Effects of Methanol Vapor on Human Neurobehavioral Measures

In this pilot study, Dr. Mary Cook and colleagues at the Midwest Research Institute explored how exposure to methanol vapor might affect the human nervous system. Methanol could be used as an alternative fuel, but it may lead to increased levels of methanol and formaldehyde in the atmosphere. The investigators exposed 12 young male volunteers to either filtered air or methanol vapor and assessed their response using 20 commonly used tests of sensory, behavioral, and reasoning performance before, during, and after each exposure. To reduce the possible influence of suggestion, neither the chamber operator nor the subjects knew which exposures were to methanol and which were to filtered air.