OSHA does not have a PEL for gamma-butyrolactone (GBL).
GBL is considered to be generally recognized as safe when used as a flavoring agent (Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association number 3291; Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives number 0219) and is described has having a milky, creamy taste with a fruity peach-like nuance. It has been found in beer, wine, cooked meat, coffee, tomatoes, and in tobacco smoke.
Due to significant abuse liability, GBL is on DEA's List 1 of chemicals covered by the Chemical Diversion and Trafficking Act [21 CFR 1310.02(a)(24)].
In rats, GBL is rapidly metabolized (t½ 1 minute) after intravenous injection to gamma-hydroxybutyrate, a CNS depressant drug (DEA Schedule III when used in the anticataplexy drug, Xyrem, with schedule I penalties if used as a "date-rape" drug).
Symptoms of withdrawal in physically-dependent abusers of gamma-butyrolactone include delirium, agitated psychosis, and autonomic instability. Insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and hallucinations (visual, auditory or tactile) may also occur.
Cartigny, B., et al.: 1H NMR spectroscopic investigation of serum and urine in a case of acute tetrahydrofuran poisoning. J. Anal. Toxicol. 25(4): 270-274, 2001.
Liechti, M.E., Kunz, I., Greminger, P., Speich, R. and Kupferschmidt. H.: Clinical features of gamma-hydroxybutyrate and gamma-butyrolactone toxicity and concomitant drug and alcohol use. Drug Alcohol Depend.81(3): 323-326, 2006.
McDaniel, C.H. and Miotto, K.A.: Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and gamma butyrolactone (GBL) withdrawal: five case studies. J. Psychoactive Drugs 33(2): 143-149, 2001.
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