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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Concentration-detection functions for eye irritation evoked by homologous n-alcohols and acetates approaching a cut-off point

  • Author(s): Cometto-Muñiz, J. Enrique
  • Cain, William S.
  • Abraham, Michael H.
  • Sánchez-Moreno, Ricardo
  • et al.
The data associated with this publication are within the manuscript.

We measured the concentration-detection (i.e., psychometric) functions for the eye irritation evoked by three homologous n-alcohols (1-nonanol, 1-decanol and 1-undecanol) and two homologous acetates (nonyl and decyl acetate). A vapor delivery device based on a dynamic dilution of stimuli in nitrogen served to present various concentrations of each compound, including the undiluted vapor, to the subjects (n >= 26). Delivered concentrations were quantified by gas chromatography. Detection probability (P) was assessed via a three-alternative, forced-choice procedure and quantified on a scale ranging from P = 0.0 (chance detection) to P = 1.0 (perfect detection). Flow rate to the eye equaled 2.5 l/min and time of exposure was 6 s. The functions for 1-undecanol and decyl acetate plateaued at P approximate to 0.5 and P approximate to 0.25, respectively, such that further increases in concentration failed to increase detection notably. Thus, both series reached a break point, or cut-off, in the detection of ocular irritation. The present outcome provides additional evidence that the cut-off does not rest on the low vapor concentration of the homolog but, more likely, on the homolog exceeding a critical molecular dimension(s), which prevents it from interacting effectively with the appropriate receptors.

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