U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 71,2015


U.S. Government work


The ten Berge model (or ‘‘toxic load’’ model) is often used to estimate the acute toxicity for varying combinations of inhaled concentration and duration. Expressed as Cn X t = toxic load (TL), TLs are assumed constant for various combinations of concentration (C) and time (t). Experimental data in a recent acute inhalation study of rats exposed to time-varying concentrations of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) supported the validity of the toxic load model except under very brief, discontinuous, high concentration exposures. In the present investigation, experiments were conducted to extend the evaluation of the applicable domain of the model for acute lethality of HCN in the rat (cumulative exposure range of 2900–11,000 ppm min). The lethality of HCN over very short (<5 min) durations of high concentrations did not conform to the toxic load model. A value of n = 1.57 was determined for uninterrupted exposures P5 min. For 30-min exposures, the presence or absence of a gap between two exposure pulses of different concentrations, the relative duration, relative height, and the ordering of the pulses (low then high, vs. high then low) did not appear to have a meaningful impact on the toxic load required for median lethality.