Migration of nitrosamines from rubber products--are balloons and condoms harmful to the human health?

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2005 Mar;49(3):235-8. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200400050.


Studies performed in 2001 and 2003 surveyed the release of carcinogenic nitrosamines and nitrosatable substances from rubber toy balloons by extraction with artificial saliva and gas chromatography-thermal energy analysis (GC-TEA). 81% of the 16 in 2001 sampled balloons and 93% of the 14 in 2003 sampled balloons released nitrosamines above the recommended level in Germany of 10 mug per kg material. Furthermore, 32 rubber condom samples collected in 2004 from the German market were surveyed for nitrosamines by determining the amount migrating into an artificial sweat test solution. The levels released from condoms varied from < 10 to 660 mug per kg material (i. e., up to 1.4 mug nitrosamines per condom). In a model calculation, not considering the differences that may exist in the resorption rate, we have calculated that the exposure from condoms may exceed the exposure from food 1.5-3 fold. To our knowledge so far no legal binding legislation exists worldwide concerning nitrosamine migration from toy balloons or condoms.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogens / analysis
  • Condoms / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Nitrosamines / adverse effects*
  • Nitrosamines / analysis*
  • Nitrosamines / pharmacokinetics
  • Play and Playthings
  • Risk Factors
  • Rubber / chemistry*
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Sweat / chemistry


  • Carcinogens
  • Nitrosamines
  • Rubber