Studies have shown that sorbic acid is irritating to the skin and mucous membranes of man, and that it is a sensitizer. The acid and its alkali salts were of low acute oral toxicity in rats and mice, and on repeated administration a low toxicity was also indicated, the main targets being the liver and kidney. In limited oral studies in rats and mice with the acid or its potassium salt, there was no indication of reproductive toxicity.

Good quality Western studies uncovered no carcinogenic potential following dietary administration of sorbic acid to rats and mice. Sorbic acid and potassium sorbate gave no evidence of genotoxic activity in orally treated mice and hamsters. Stored solutions of the sodium salt were weakly active when given orally to mice. Following intraperitoneal administration, sorbic acid produced chromosomal effects in mice, whereas the sodium salt irrespective of storage conditions was active in mice and hamsters, although the potassium salt was inactive in rodents. In mammalian cells in culture, sodium sorbate solutions were genotoxic, especially when tested after a period of storage. In general, no evidence of mutagenicity was reported with the acid and its salts in bacterial tests (including the Ames test and ‘rec’ assays for DNA damage) although extracts from the intestinal contents of mice receiving the acid or its potassium salts in the diet for a year were found to be mutagenic in the Ames test.

Date of Publication: 1995

Number of Pages: 11

CAS Number*: 110-44-1





Format: PDF available for immediate download

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