To determine safe exposure levels of tetraethoxysilane (TEOS) in the kidney, groups of male ICR mice (SPF grade) containing 10 animals each were exposed to TEOS, 100 ppm or 50 ppm, for 6 hours/day, 5 days/week, for 2 or 4 weeks. Tubulointerstitial nephritis developed in mice exposed to 100 ppm for 2 and 4 weeks, but no kidney lesions or renal function changes were observed in mice exposed to 50 ppm. However, histopathological changes were detected in the nasal mucosa of mice exposed to 50 ppm TEOS. These results indicate that the occupational exposure level for TEOS should be strictly maintained below the current recommended exposure limit, 10 ppm, set by many countries and academic associations, and that renal tubular function of TEOS-exposed workers should be assessed and monitored for a long period.
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