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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 27  |  Page : 49--64

Combined effects of noise and styrene on hearing : Comparison between active and sedentary rats

1 Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité‚ Vandoeuvre, France
2 Department of Medicine, Unit of Physiology University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland

Correspondence Address:
P Campo
Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité‚ Avenue de Bourgogne, BP 27, Vandoeuvre 54501
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.31633

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In this study, two investigations were carried out with adult Long-Evans rats exposed to increasing concentrations of styrene. In the first experiment, the hearing of rats, which were forced to walk in a special wheel during the exposure, was compared to that of rats which were sleepy in their cage. The active rats were exposed to styrene concentrations ranging from 300 to 600 ppm, whereas the sedentary rats were exposed from 500 to 1000 ppm for 4 weeks, 5 days per week, 6 hours per day. In the second experiment, designed to evaluate the hearing risks at threshold limit values, active rats were exposed either to a noise having a Leq8h of 85 dB (equivalent level of a continuous noise for a typical 8-h workday), or to 400-ppm styrene or to a simultaneous exposure to noise and styrene. In both experiments, auditory function was tested by auditory-evoked potentials from the inferior colliculus and completed by morphological analyses of the organ of Corti. The results of the first experiment showed that the same amount of styrene-induced hearing loss can be obtained by using concentrations approximately 200 ppm lower in active rats than in sedentary rats. The second investigation showed that, in spite of the low-intensity noise and the low-concentration of styrene, there is a clear risk of potentiation of styrene-induced hearing loss by noise. These findings and exposure conditions were discussed and extrapolated with regard to the risk assessment for human beings. The authors propose to decrease the French threshold limit value of styrene for ensuring a high level of protection for human hearing.


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