Estimations of the lethal and exposure doses for representative methanol symptoms in humans

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Background: The aim of this review was to estimate the lethal and exposure doses of a representative symptom (blindness) of methanol exposure in humans by reviewing data from previous articles. Methods: Available articles published from 1970 to 2016 that investigated the dose-response relationship for methanol exposure (i.e., the exposure concentration and the biological markers/clinical symptoms) were evaluated; the MEDLINE and RISS (Korean search engine) databases were searched. The available data from these articles were carefully selected to estimate the range and median of a lethal human dose. The regression equation and correlation coefficient (between the exposure level and urinary methanol concentration as a biological exposure marker) were assumed from the previous data. Results: The lethal human dose of pure methanol was estimated at 15.8-474g/person as a range and as 56.2g/person as the median. The dose-response relationship between methanol vapor in ambient air and urinary methanol concentrations was thought to be correlated. An oral intake of 3.16-11.85g/person of pure methanol could cause blindness. The lethal dose from respiratory intake was reported to be 4000-13,000mg/l. The initial concentration of optic neuritis and blindness were shown to be 228.5 and 1103mg/l, respectively, for a 12-h exposure. Conclusion: The concentration of biological exposure indices and clinical symptoms for methanol exposure might have a dose-response relationship according to previous articles. Even a low dose of pure methanol through oral or respiratory exposure might be lethal or result in blindness as a clinical symptom.




Moon, C. S. (2017, October 2). Estimations of the lethal and exposure doses for representative methanol symptoms in humans. Annals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. BioMed Central Ltd.

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