The research reported here was intended to identify the concentration at which methyl bromide begins to produce neurotoxic effects in the rabbit, a species known to be sensitive to this compound. Rabbits were exposed via inhalation to 21 ppm methyl bromide over a period of 8 mo for a total exposure duration of 900 h. Biweekly neurobehavioral tests, consisting of the latency rates of the ulnar and sciatic nerves and the amplitude of the eyeblink reflex of the orbicularis oculi muscle, failed to uncover any untoward consequences of the exposures. The rabbits gained weight and otherwise appeared to be healthy. In contrast to reports available in the literature, these findings suggest that long-term exposures to methyl bromide, in the present concentration range, are tolerated by this species. Also detailed in this report is the course of recovery of a separate group of rabbits previously given subchronic exposures to 65 ppm methyl bromide. These animals developed severe neuromuscular losses and had impaired blink reflexes and body weights. The symptoms partially subsided within 6-8 wk after removal from the exposures, suggesting that recovery from a nonfatal but seriously debilitating exposure is possible.
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