As part of its Indoor Air Program, Health Canada has recently evaluated naphthalene, indoor air being the main source of exposure for the general Canadian population (through many consumer and building products such as paints, flooring, air fresheners, pesticides and cigarette smoke). In rodent studies involving inhalation exposure to high concentrations, naphthalene has caused tissue damage and cancer in the nasal passages and lungs. It could potentially be carcinogenic to humans. On this basis, Health Canada has proposed a residential indoor air quality guideline of 0.01 mg/m3 (1.9 ppb); this concentration is considered unlikely to cause nasal cytotoxicity, or therefore tumour development, on prolonged exposure. Other health effects of naphthalene include haemolytic anaemia (a breakdown of red blood cells, particularly in individuals with a specific (G6PD) enzyme deficiency) and eye damage, and the report acknowledges that the foetus/neonate, children, and people with G6PD deficiency may be particularly vulnerable to naphthalene toxicity.

Health Canada (2012). Proposed residential indoor air quality guideline. Science Assessment Document. Naphthalene. Comment period ends 14 December 2012.

[link to summary document; full document is available on request]


The above item was taken from the December 2012 issue of Toxicology and Regulatory News which is sent automatically to members of bibra (click here for more details).

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