Merck

Occupational ototoxicity of n-hexane.

Human & experimental toxicology (2008-09-12)
A Vyskocil, T Leroux, G Truchon, M Gendron, N El Majidi, C Viau
RESUMEN

The ability of chemicals to produce hearing loss themselves or to promote noise-induced hearing loss has been reported for some organic solvents. The objective of this study was to review the literature on the effects of low-level exposure to n-hexane on the auditory system and consider its relevance for occupational settings. Both human and animal investigations were evaluated only for realistic exposure concentrations based on the permissible inhalation exposure limits. In Quebec, the time-weighted average exposure value (TWAEV) for 8 h is 50 ppm. In humans, the upper limit for considering ototoxicity data relevant to the occupational exposure situation was set at five times the TWAEV. Animal data were evaluated only for exposure concentrations up to 100 times the TWAEV. There is no convincing evidence of n-hexane-induced hearing loss in workers. In rats, n-hexane seems to affect auditory function; however, the site of these alterations cannot be determined from the present data. Further studies with sufficient data on the exposure of workers to n-hexane are necessary to make a definitive conclusion. In the interim, we recommend considering n-hexane as a possibly ototoxic agent.

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