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Repeated exposure to moxa-burning smoke: its acute and chronic toxicities in rats

Author: Han L, Liu CX, Liu P, Hu H, Yang J, Cai H, Lim MY, Zhu MX, Pan XJ, Huang J, Cui YX, Lao LX, Zhao BX
Page: 67

OBJECTIVE: To assess toxicities of the air in Chinese medicine clinics polluted by moxa-burning smoke due to moxibustion-derived burning products (MBP). METHODS: Both acute and chronic toxicity studies were conducted. For the acute toxicity study, five groups of Wistar rats (n = 16/group, male: female = 1∶1) were exposed to five different concentrations (95%, 90%, 85%, 80% and 75%, respectively) of MBP for 2 h. For the chronic toxicity study, another three groups of male rats (n = 21/group) were exposed to MBP in three concentrations (10%, 40% and 70%, respectively) and one control group exposed to clean air 20 min/d for 144 d. Routine examinations were performed and analyzed by analysis of variance and dose-response relationship. RESULTS: In the acute toxicity study, the number of dead rats in the 95%, 90%, 85%, 80% and 75% groups were 16, 13, 7, 6 and 3, respectively, with LD50 of 86.274% after or during the 2 h exposure. In the chronic toxicity study, MBP exposure induced a decline in activity of the rats. Rats in the 10% group showed no signs of toxicity, while those in the 40% MBP group showed toxicity effects on the body weights (P < 0.05) and lung. Rats in the 70% MBP group also presented with reversible damage in the blood coagulation system (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Exposure to 10% MBP, which is equivalent to 27.45 mg/m3, was under the critical threshold for male rats'†safety. Exposure to MBP above that limit induced lung damage. MBP in clinics need to be reduced to a safe level with enhanced ventilation.

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