Urethane is a powerful carcinogen in laboratory animals producing a wide range of local and systemic tumours. Its repeated administration proved to be carcinogenic in oral studies in rats, mice and hamsters, in dermal studies in mice and hamsters, and in inhalation studies in mice. Tumours were induced by a single oral dose given to newborn mice, and by a single injected dose given to mice and guinea-pigs. Urethane caused chromosome damage in various tissues of rodents following administration by injection or inhalation. A subcutaneous injection was mutagenic in a mouse ‘spot test’, and DNA-binding occurred in the tissues of rats and mice treated orally, dermally or by injection. In human and laboratory animal cells in culture, urethane induced chromosome damage, mutations and transformations. Urethane was mutagenic in bacterial assays (including the Ames test) and produced mutations and effects on the chromosomes in yeast and in fruitflies. Oral or injected doses in pregnant rodents caused foetal toxicity and foetal malformations, and the offspring of rodents treated by injection during pregnancy developed tumours. In mice, urethane was of low acute oral toxicity. Toxic effects on the immune system occurred following injection into rats and mice. In man, repeated ingestion has been associated with effects on the bone marrow and blood, while repeated application to the burned skin of one patient produced liver and kidney damage, coma and death.

Date of Publication: 1991

Number of Pages: 9

CAS Number*: 51-79-6

Format: PDF available for immediate download

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