Chronic exposure


Symptoms reported in 19 workers exposed to MIBK (80-500 ppm) for 20-30 minutes daily (and to 80 ppm for the rest of the day), for six months to one year, included anorexia, eye and throat irritation, nausea and vomiting. CNS effects included headache, drowsiness, sleep disturbances and weakness, which lasted weeks after cessation of exposure. Four workers had slightly enlarged liver and six had complaints indicative of non-specific colitis. Clinical biochemistry tests were normal (Linari et al., 1964). Five years later, following improvement in work practices (50 ppm MIBK with peaks of 105 ppm), only a few workers complained of gastrointestinal and CNS effects. Slight liver enlargement had persisted in two workers, but the other effects had resolved (Armeli et al., 1968).

Cognitive impairment with slowed information processing and impaired attention was reported in a worker exposed to high concentrations of MIBK over a 6 year period. He also had temporary severe olfactory impairment (Grober and Schaumburg, 2000).

In a study of volunteers exposed to 20 ppm and 40 ppm, the perceived odour intensity was high at the start of the exposure but stabilised after about two hours. This suggests that olfactory adaptation may occur and this will hinder odour detection of MIBK (Gagnon et al., 1994).

MIBK has been implicated in cases of neuropathy (e.g., Oh and Kim, 1976; AuBuchon et al., 1979) but this has been questioned (Tyrer, 1979). The evidence from studies in animals demonstrates that exposure to MIBK alone does not cause neurological damage (Spencer et al., 1980; ECETOC, 1987).


Chronic exposure to MIBK on the skin may cause drying and cracking (Hathaway et al., 1996). Dermatitis may occur due to its defatting action (Topping et al., 1994).

No information available. Ingestion

No information available.

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