Behavioral toxicology of carbon disulfide and toluene

Environ Health Perspect. 1979 Jun;30:39-45. doi: 10.1289/ehp.793039.


Organic solvents are pervasive in the communal and industrial environments. Although many are potent central nervous system agents, clearly delineated behavioral effects have played only a minor role in the formation of exposure standards. A comprehensive behavioral pharmacology and toxicology of these compounds is one aim of US/USSR collaboration. The current report describes some actions of carbon disulfide and toulene. Earlier data about the actions of carbon disulfide on pigeon operant performance indicated disruption of schedule-controlled key-pecking. Primate data are now described from a situation designed to determine aversive thresholds to electrical stimulation. Effective concentrations of carbon disulfide produced both a rise in the amount of electric shock tolerated and a diminution of the response force exerted by the monkeys. In experiments with toluene, pigeons were shown to elevate key-pecking rate in an operant situation at certain concentrations. Toluene also was studied for its capacity to maintain self-administration in the same way as drugs of abuse. Monkeys worked to gain access to toulene vapor just as they work for opiates or amphetamines. The current experiments demonstrate how comprehensive the range of behavioral toxicology needs to be to deal with environmental health issues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atmosphere Exposure Chambers
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Carbon Disulfide / administration & dosage
  • Carbon Disulfide / toxicity*
  • Columbidae
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Haplorhini
  • Information Services
  • International Cooperation
  • National Library of Medicine (U.S.)
  • Saimiri
  • Toluene / administration & dosage
  • Toluene / toxicity*
  • Toxicology
  • United States


  • Toluene
  • Carbon Disulfide