Psychometric functions for the olfactory and trigeminal detectability of butyl acetate and toluene.
J Appl Toxicol
We measured psychometric (i.e. concentration-response) functions for the detection of odor, nasal pungency and eye irritation from butyl acetate and toluene. Olfactory detection was measured in subjects with normal olfaction (i.e. normosmics) for whom nasal trigeminal detection does not interfere because it requires much higher concentrations. Nasal trigeminal detection, called nasal pungency, was measured only in subjects lacking olfaction (i.e. anosmics) in order to avoid odor interference. Ocular trigeminal detection, called eye irritation, was measured in both groups. The method employed entailed a two-alternative, forced-choice procedure with presentation of increasing concentrations. The outcome showed, for both chemicals, similar ocular trigeminal chemosensitivity in normosmics and anosmics and similar overall ocular and nasal trigeminal chemosensitivity. Olfactory sensitivity was much higher than both forms of trigeminal sensitivity by concentration differences of six and four orders of magnitude for butyl acetate and toluene, respectively. Detectability plots (i.e. detection performance vs log concentration) for the three sensory endpoints followed an S-shaped function with a middle range section that showed a robust linear fit (r > 0.94) on graphs of z-score vs log concentration. These detectability functions allow the calculation of olfactory and trigeminal thresholds at various levels of performance. At a point half-way between random and perfect detection, trigeminal and olfactory threshold concentrations were, respectively, 0.67 (+/-0.32) and 2.28 (+/-1.77) log units lower than those measured by us in the past for the same chemicals using an analogous procedure but under just one, fixed, level of performance. The available data suggest that, although considerably laborious, detectability functions provide chemosensory thresholds of closer relevance to environmentally realistic conditions (e.g. whole-body exposures).
|Title:||Psychometric functions for the olfactory and trigeminal detectability of butyl acetate and toluene.|
|Keywords:||Acetates, Adult, Chemoreceptor Cells, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Drug Interactions, Eye, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Nasal Mucosa, Odors, Olfactory Pathways, Psychometrics, Signal Detection, Psychological, Smell, Stimulation, Chemical, Toluene, Trigeminal Nerve|
|UCL classification:||UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Chemistry
Archive Staff Only