Toxicity

The first reported cases of neuropathy from methyl n-butyl ketone occurred in 1973 in a coated fabrics plant (Mendell et al., 1974; Allen et al., 1975; Billmaier et al., 1975). Much of the data concerning methyl n-butyl ketone was published in the 1970s following this incident. Methyl n-butyl ketone is a metabolite of n-hexane. They also share a neurotoxic metabolite, 2,5-hexanedione and are therefore, similar in their toxicity. However, there is far more information on n-hexane (Chapter 12) toxicity compared to methyl n-butyl ketone, but much of the data also apply to methyl n-butyl ketone.

Polyneuropathy has been reported following methyl n-butyl ketone exposure in painters (McDonough, 1974; Mallov, 1976; Saida et al., 1976), a cabinet finisher (Davenport et al., 1976), and a print-screen cleaner (Wickersham and Fredericks, 1976). Polyneuropathy has been demonstrated in animals given methyl n-butyl ketone (Duckett et al., 1974; McDonough, 1974; Mendell et al., 1974; Spencer et al., 1975; Krasavage et al., 1979; Katz et al., 1980; Abdo et al., 1982) and 2,5-hexanedione (Spencer and Schaumburg, 1975). The typical picture of methyl n-butyl or n-hexane induced polyneuropathy is insidious onset and slow progression (Allen et al., 1975; Spencer et al., 1980).

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