Bis(chloromethyl) Ether

CAS RN:542-88-1

Toxicity Summary

... Based upon the lack of persistence of BCME /bis(chloromethyl) ether/ and CMME /chloromethyl methyl ether/ in the environment, average human exposure to these compounds is likely to be very low. ... Workers in industries related to plastics and textile production could have been exposed ... in workroom air. ... General population exposure to BCME and CMME occurs where they are produced by the widespread burning of this synergist in mosquito coils. ...Quantitative information on the kinetics and metabolism ... in humans is not available. However, it is anticipated that although in vivo BCME and CMME would be rapidly hydrozlyzed in tissues to formaldehyde and hydrogen chloride, and methanol, formaldehyde and hydrogen chloride, respectively, there should be alkylation activity. BCME and CMME are acutely toxic by inhalation or ingestion. ... During inhalation of BCME /in laboratory animal studies/, irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract were noted as well as necrotizing bronchitis. Skin application resulted in erythema and necrosis, and application to the eye resulted in corneal necrosis. ... Increased mortality and tracheal hyperplasia were observed in rats and hamsters following multiple inhalation exposure. ... In general, positive results were obtained when ... tested for mutagenicity in vitro. ... BCME and CMME have been reported to increase unscheduled DNA synthesis in vitro, and BCME increased the level of transformed cells in in vitro assays. ... Carcinogenicity studies in experimental animals (mice and rats) exposed to BCME showed significantly elevated incidence of pulmonary adenomas and respiratory tumors. In mice, inhalation exposure also showed evidence of an elevated incidence of lung tumors. ... Exposure of workers to BCME (CMME) was associated with increased risk of lung cancer. Workers exposed to commercial grade CMME were probably also exposed to BCME. The predominant tumors in exposed workers were small cell carcinomas, quite distinct from the chiefly squamous cell carcinomas usually found in smokers. The association between exposure to BCME (CMME) and lung cancer was strong ... The type of lung cancer, latency period and average age of appearance of lung tumors in workers exposed to BCME (CMME) has been remarkably consistent. ... Concentrations /of BCME and CMME/ ... in the course of occupational exposure increased the frequency of chromosomal aberrations in the peripheral lymphocytes of exposed workers. Information has not been reported regarding the neurological, immunological, developmental or reproductive effectsof BCME or CMME in humans. ... No information on the toxicological effects of BCME and CMME on environmental organisms has been reported.
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