Environmental monitoring and assessment

In vitro cytotoxicity assessment of a West Virginia chemical spill mixture involving 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol and propylene glycol phenyl ether.

PMID 28357716


Thousands of gallons of industrial chemicals, crude 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) and propylene glycol phenyl ether (PPh), leaked from industrial tanks into the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia, USA, on January 9, 2014. A considerable number of people were reported to exhibit symptoms of chemical exposure and an estimated 300,000 residents were advised not to use or drink tap water. At the time of the spill, the existing toxicological data of the chemicals were limited for a full evaluation of the health risks, resulting in concern among those in the impacted regions. In this preliminary study, we assessed cell viability and plasma membrane degradation following a 24-h exposure to varying concentrations (0-1000 μM) of the two compounds, alone and in combination. Evaluation of different cell lines, HEK-293 (kidney), HepG2 (liver), H9c2 (heart), and GT1-7 (brain), provided insight regarding altered cellular responses in varying organ systems. Single exposure to MCHM or PPh did not affect cell viability, except at doses much higher than the estimated exposure levels. Certain co-exposures significantly reduced metabolic activity and increased plasma membrane degradation in GT1-7, HepG2, and H9c2 cells. These findings highlight the importance of examining co-exposures to fully understand the potential toxic effects.

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1-hydroxymethyl-1-methylcyclohexane, AldrichCPR