Methyl tert butyl ether systemic toxicity.

Risk analysis : an official publication of the Society for Risk Analysis (1998-02-17)
J J Clary
RESUMEN

In male F344 rats exposed in a chronic inhalation study to methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) a treatment related increase in severity of chronic nephropathy and mortality and an increase in hyaline droplets in the kidney were noted. Liver weights were increased in both rats and mice but no histological lesions other than hypertrophy are seen. Transient CNS effects but no indications of permanent nervous system effects were noted. MTBE is not a reproductive or developmental hazard. MTBE is rapidly absorbed. MTBE with some metabolite, tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) and a little CO2 are excreted in the air. The urinary excretion products in animals are TBA metabolites, while in humans the urinary excretion products are MTBE and TBA. A comparison of the systematic responses of the possible metabolites TBA and formaldehyde indicate that they are not responsible for toxicity associated with MTBE, except that TBA may be partially responsible for the kidney effects reported. Animals and humans are similar in the uptake and excretion though with some differences in metabolism of MTBE. This supports the use of the animal data as a surrogate for humans.

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