Butadiene was carcinogenic in inhalation studies in rats and mice, producing a range of tumours. It appears to be more active in the mouse than in the rat. Studies on workers suggest a possible link between butadiene exposure and cancer of the blood and lymphatic system, but interpretation of these studies is confounded by the workers’ concomitant exposure to other chemicals. Mutations have been detected in blood cells from exposed workers. Butadiene was mutagenic in the bacterial Ames test and has induced gene mutations and chromosome damage in mammalian cells in culture. The inhalation of butadiene produced mutations, chromosomal damage, sperm abnormalities and early foetal deaths (possibly indicative of a genotoxic effect) in mice. Covalent binding of butadiene or its metabolites to liver DNA has been seen in mice and rats.

Repeated inhalation studies indicated damage to the kidney and nervous system in rats (although Soviet studies reported changes in a much wider range of organs), and effects on various organ systems in mice including the respiratory tract, reproductive organs, liver, bone marrow and blood. Foetotoxicity and foetal malformations were induced in rats and mice following inhalation of butadiene; in mice, the malformations were claimed to be male-mediated. Butadiene was of low acute oral and inhalation toxicity in laboratory animals, its possible sites of action being the liver, kidney, blood and nervous system. In man, the symptoms of acute toxicity mainly involve the nervous system. Butadiene has been reported to irritate the skin, eyes and mucous membranes of man.

Date of Publication: 1994

Number of Pages: 11

CAS Number*: 106-99-0

Format: PDF available for immediate download

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