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Review
, 168, 1-42

Mammalian Toxicity of 1,3-dichloropropene

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Review

Mammalian Toxicity of 1,3-dichloropropene

W T Stott et al. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol.

Abstract

DCP has been utilized as a soil fumigant for more than 45 yr for the control for parasitic plant nematodes. Injected into soil before planting of crops, the instability of DCP in soil and water and its volatility dictate the principal route of human exposure that may occur, inhalation. Extensive data have been accumulated on the toxicity and metabolism of DCP. DCP is moderately toxic via oral or inhalation exposure, is irritating to the skin and eyes, and has potential to produce skin sensitization. It is rapidly and extensively metabolized. It has a half-life in the blood of rats and humans of only 3-7 min and < 10 min, respectively. Rats and mice excrete approximately 80% of even relatively high oral dosages within 24 hr, primarily as breakdown products of a glutathione conjugate or as carbon dioxide. These products reflect the primary routes of metabolism of DCP, via GSH-conjugative and hydrolytic pathways. An additional pathway based upon the epoxidation of DCP has also been proposed, but this does not appear to occur to any toxicologically significant degree in the presence of normally occurring GSTs. Direct evidence of the latter pathway is only been obtained at dosages of DCP in excess of the reported LD50. Humans also appear to rapidly metabolize DCP and excrete its metabolites. Subchronic toxicity studies of relatively pure DCP in rats and mice via oral or inhalation routes have resulted in portal-of-entry tissue effects that reflect the irritant properties of this chemical to nasal and gastric mucosa. At higher exposure levels in mice, however, toxicity was also identified in a remote tissue, the urinary bladder. Toxicity in dogs ingesting DCP was limited to the formation of a regenerative hypochromic, microcytic anemia. No teratological or reproductive effects were observed in rats or rabbits inhaling DCP vapors. Nonneoplastic changes from chronic dosing of DCP were generally similar to those observed in subchronic studies. Somewhat variable responses, however, have been observed for neoplastic effects, depending on the DCP formulation, route, and species used. Inhalation of a recent formulation increased the benign tumor incidence in the lungs of male mice (only) while ingestion of similar test material by rats and mice resulted in a low incidence of benign liver tumors in rats (only). In contrast, an older formulation containing Epi as a stabilizing agent administered to rats and mice via bolus oral dosing induced a number of malignant or benign tumors: in the forestomach and liver in rats and the forestomach, lung, and urinary bladder in mice. An equally complicated database has accumulated for DCP in vitro and in vivo genotoxicity testing. Genotoxicity has been reported in in vitro assays; however, confounding factors such as low-purity formulations, use of a genotoxic stabilizer, or generation of reactive impurities during attempts to purify test material have complicated interpretation. DCP appears to lack direct DNA reactivity, and a general trend toward decreasing activity with increasing complexity of the assay system and the presence of GST is evident. The weight-of-evidence evaluation of the genotoxicity data base suggests a lack of genotoxicity in vivo. Clearly definable treatment-related effects of DCP suggesting a plausible nongenotoxic mechanism of tumorigenic action, for example, enhanced cell proliferation, have not been in evidence in target tissues of treated animals. Thus, the specific mode of tumorigenesis of DCP in test animals remains to be elucidated but appears to involve a non-DNA-reactive mechanism. In conclusion, DCP-based soil fumigants have maintained an important role in agricultural despite the structural similarity of DCP to known genotoxic carcinogens and its own activity in in vitro genotoxicity assays. This role results from a combination of its use on soils before the planting of crops, its limited environmental half-life, rapid metabolism by animals via GSH conjugation and catabolism to CO2, lack of genotoxicity in in vivo assays, and an extensive toxicological database in animals, including several oncogenicity bioassays. These data, when combined with occupational and environmental exposure information, have provided a scientifically sound basis for the continued safe use of DCP-containing products.

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