Sensory Irritation of Microbially Produced Volatile Organic Compounds in Mice During Repeated Exposures

Anne Korpi, PH. LIC., Jukka-Pekka Kasanen, M.Sc., Anna-Liisa Pasanen, Ph.D. Department of Environmental Sciences, Kuopio, Finland; email:

Microbially produced volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) are suspected to cause eye, nose and throat irritation in occupants of moldy buildings. The effect of repeated exposures (30 minutes per day during 4 consecutive days) of mice to 3-octanone (3531 mg/m3), 1-octen-3-ol (36 mg/m3), or to a mixture of five MVOCs (58 mg/m3) via inhalation was studied with a standardized method (ASTM E 981-84). With single MVOCs, no changes in the responses between repetitions of exposure were seen, and only a very slight adaptation in the respiratory response was noted along with the repetition of exposure to a mixture of MVOCs. Thus, during a short-term experiment, repeated exposure to MVOCs did not provoke changes in the sensation of irritation nor cause permanent effects on upper respiratory tract.