In this study, a 35% phosphoric acid gel (3M Scotchbond etchant), a nonrinse etchant (NRC), and two EDTA-containing conditioners (RC-Prep and File-Eze) were tested in vitro for blocking nerve conductance evoked in the rat sciatic nerve after local application. The phosphoric acid gel and NRC completely and irreversibly inhibited conductance. On the other hand, RC-Prep reduced the compound action potentials (cAPs) by 50 % in 120 min. With File-Eze, the reduction in cAPs was less than 50% after an application time of 160 min (61.8 +/- 1.8%). At 160 min the cAPs in the RC-Prep group had been inhibited by 62.4%. These results indicated strong neurotoxic effects of phosphoric acid and NRC when applied directly on exposed pulp in the total etch procedure.