Author(s): Smeets MA, Dalton PH
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Abstract Although airborne chemicals can directly elicit adverse reactions via stimulation of the olfactory and trigeminal nerves, such as sensory irritation of the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat, an individual's subjective experience is often the result of a complex sequence of events involving those sensory, physiological signals and psychological processes involved in perception, memory and judgment. To evaluate the contribution of these processes, an information-processing model of chemosensory perception is introduced. The model incorporates (1) the perception of odor and trigeminal irritation, and accompanying physiological and somatic changes that follow directly from the encounter with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the environment (bottom-up processing), and (2) any physiological/ somatic changes and subjective experiences of irritancy that are influenced by cognitive processes that have been primed by the perception of odor (top-down processing). The model is illustrated with data from our laboratory, and its utility in the context of setting occupational exposure limits is discussed.
This article was published in Environ Toxicol Pharmacol
and referenced in International Journal of Waste Resources