||California Univ., San Diego, La Jolla. Dept. of Surgery. ;John B. Pierce Foundation Lab., New Haven, CT.;Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC. Air Pollution Prevention and Control Div.;National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.
The paper gives results of the measurement of threshold responses of odor, nasal pungency (irritation), and eye irritation for single chemicals (1-oropanol, 1-hexanol, ethyl acetate, heptyl acetate, 2-pentanone, toluene, ethyl benzene, and propyl benzene), and their mixtures (two three-component mixtures, two six-component mixtures, and one nine-component mixture). Nasal pungency was measured in subjects lacking a functional sense of smell (i.e., anosmics) to avoid interference from olfaction. Various degrees of stimulus agonism (additive effects) were observed for each of the three sensory channels when testing mixtures. As the number of components and the lipophilicity of such components in the mixtures increased, so did the degree of agonism. Synergistic stimulus agonism characterized the eye irritation response for the most complex (the nine-component) and the most lipophilic (one of the six-component) mixtures. Physicochemical properties play a large role in the determination of sensitivity to airborne chemicals, particularly to their ability to evoke irritation. Whereas this has revealed itself previously with respect to single chemicals, it seems to have relevance to mixtures as well.