Mechlorethamine

CAS RN: 51-75-2

Exposure Summary

Mechlorethamine's production and use as an antineoplastic agent as its hydrochloride salt and its former production as a gas warfare agent may result in its release to the environment through various waste streams. If released to air, a vapor pressure of 0.17 mm Hg at 25 deg C indicates mechlorethamine will exist solely as a vapor in the ambient atmosphere. Vapor-phase mechlorethamine will be degraded in the atmosphere by reaction with photochemically-produced hydroxyl radicals; the half-life for this reaction in air is estimated to be 2 days. Mechlorethamine does not contain any functional groups that would be expected to absorb light with wavelengths >290 nm, and it would not be expected to be susceptible to direct photolysis by sunlight. The hydrolysis of mechlorethamine is generally described as rapid and hydrolysis is expected to be the predominate environmental fate of mechlorethamine. A hydrolysis half-life of 11 hours was reported for mechlorethamine in a 66.7% acetone-water solution at 25 deg C, and would be expected to be more rapid in a solution with just water as the solvent. Volatilization from dry soil surfaces is not expected based upon its vapor pressure. Bioconcentration is not likely be an important environmental fate due to mechlorethamine's rapid hydrolysis. Occupational exposure to mechlorethamine may occur through inhalation and dermal contact with this compound at workplaces where mechlorethamine is produced or used. The general population is unlikely to be exposed to mechlorethamine due to its limited use as a chemotherapeutic agent. (SRC)
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