Air Toxics

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Research Report 89
Thomas Burbacher
October 1999

In an effort to improve air quality and decrease dependence on petroleum, alternative fuels such as methanol have been considered to substitute for gasoline or diesel fuel. Methanol is also a candidate to provide the hydrogen for fuel cells. Before people are exposed to increased concentrations of methanol, the potential health effects of such exposures require study. Dr. Burbacher and colleagues of the University of Washington studied the effects of long-term exposure to methanol vapors on metabolism and reproduction in adult female monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) and developmental effects in their offspring, who were exposed prenatally to methanol. 

Research Report 87
Assieh A Melikian
Min Meng
Ray O’Connor
Peifeng Hu
Seth M Thompson
June 1999

Dr. Melikian and colleagues at the American Health Foundation developed and validated a novel, practical method for assaying metabolites of benzene in humans methods using a technique known as Liquid Chromatography–Electrospray Ionization–Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS) to measure benzene metabolites in human urine.

Research Report 84
Andrew J Grosovsky
Jennifer C Sasaki
Janet Arey
David Eastmond
Karyn K Parks
Roger Atkinson
March 1999
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Dr. Arey and colleagues of the University of California, Riverside, examined the genotoxic potential of two PAHs (naphthalene and phenanthrene) that are common air pollutants, and a subset of their atmospheric transformation products. The investigators evaluated the genotoxicity of these compounds using a variety of human cell lines with a range of metabolic capabilities. They examined the ability of these compounds to produce small-scale (damage to genes) and large-scale (damage to chromosomes) genetic damage.

Communication 6
Health Effects Institute
January 1998
Communication 6 contains proceedings from a workshop held in Brussels, Belgium, June 29–30 1998. Presentations focused on butadiene ambient concentrations, metabolism, mutagenicity, epidemiology, and a panel discussion on Butadiene Risk Assessment in the Regulatory Framework.
Research Report 77
Michele A Medinsky
David C Dorman
James A Bond
Owen R Moss
Derek B Janszen
Jeffrey I Everitt
June 1997

Dr. Medinsky and colleagues of the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology sought to determine how formate, a metabolite produced when methanol is broken down by the body, is formed and removed in monkeys after they have been exposed to methanol vapors. The investigators exposed female cynomolgus monkeys to environmentally relevant concentrations (10, 45, or 200 parts per million) of methanol vapors and to one high dose (900 ppm) for two hours.

Research Report 74
Gary M Pollack
Kim LR Brouwer
June 1996

Drs. Pollack and Brouwer at the University of North Carolina determined the relationship between methanol exposure and its uptake into and elimination from the blood of nonpregnant and pregnant rodents. The investigators exposed rats and mice at several different stages of gestation to methanol intravenously or orally (doses ranged from 100 mg/kg of body weight to 2,500 mg/kg) or by inhalation (1,000 to 20,000 ppm for 8 hours). They measured blood, urine, and amniotic fluid concentrations of methanol and used the data to develop a model of methanol distribution in rodents.

Research Report 73
Bernard Weiss
Sander Stern
Sidney C Soderholm
Christopher Cox
Archana Sharma
Geoffrey B Inglis
Ray Preston
Marlene Balys
Kenneth R Reuhl
Robert Gelein
April 1996

Dr. Weiss and his colleagues at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry examined the effects of prenatal and early postnatal inhalation of methanol on selected measures of neurobehavior in rats. The investigators conducted a controlled series of experiments in which they exposed pregnant rats and their newborn offspring to 4,500 parts per million (ppm) methanol by inhalation, and then submitted them to tests of behavioral function.

Special Report
Health Effects Institute
April 1996

A Special Report of the Institute's Oxygenates Evaluation Committee. Oxygenated fuel (usually referred to as oxyfuel) was formulated to reduce carbon monoxide emissions and contains at least 2.7% oxygen by adding methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) or ethanol. Reformulated gasoline was formulated to help reduce ground-level ozone concentrations and contains at least 2% oxygen, has a reduced content of benzene and other aromatic compounds, and produces limited emissions of total air toxics. The introduction of fuels containing oxygenates elicited concerns from workers and the general public in some areas, including reports of unpleasant odors, headaches, or other symptoms attributed to the fuels, and questions about their effects on the cost of gasoline, the performance of engines, and fuel economy. This Special Report summarizes an intensive review of (1) the existing science of the health effects of oxygenates, (2) the risk evaluations done by the EPA in 1993 and 1994, and (3) in a qualitative way, the health effects of exposure to the new additives as they relate to the health effects of other pollutants whose levels in emissions change when fuels containing oxygenates are used.

Research Report 67
Timothy R Fennell
June 1994

Dr. Fennell at the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology sought to develop new methods for improving the detection of formaldehyde-DNA adducts in exposed cells and tissues. The investigator treated formaldehyde-DNA adducts with sodium bisulfite, a compound that reacts with these adducts and traps them as stable compounds, and then tested different analytical techniques for separating and detecting the adducts. He exposed pure DNA, cell nuclei, and cells in culture to formaldehyde and treated them with sodium bisulfite under a variety of experimental conditions.

Communication 2
Health Effects Institute
June 1993
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Communication 2 provides information to decision makers on research that is potentially capable of narrowing uncertainties related to the health effects of specific air toxics. This report is based on the Mobile Air Toxics Workshop held in Monterey, CA, December 4–6 1992.