Use of biomonitoring data to evaluate methyl eugenol exposure

Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Nov;114(11):1797-801. doi: 10.1289/ehp.9057.


Methyl eugenol is a naturally occurring material found in a variety of food sources, including spices, oils, and nutritionally important foods such as bananas and oranges. Given its natural occurrence, a broad cross-section of the population is likely exposed. The availability of biomonitoring and toxicology data offers an opportunity to examine how biomonitoring data can be integrated into risk assessment. Methyl eugenol has been used as a biomarker of exposure. An analytical method to detect methyl eugenol in human blood samples is well characterized but not readily available. Human studies indicate that methyl eugenol is short-lived in the body, and despite the high potential for exposure through the diet and environment, human blood levels are relatively low. The toxicology studies in animals demonstrate that relatively high-bolus doses administered orally result in hepatic neoplasms. However, an understanding is lacking regarding how this effect relates to the exposures that result when food containing methyl eugenol is consumed. Overall, the level of methyl eugenol detected in biomonitoring studies indicates that human exposure is several orders of magnitude lower than the lowest dose used in the bioassay. Furthermore, there are no known health effects in humans that result from typical dietary exposure to methyl eugenol.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Carcinogens / analysis*
  • Carcinogens / pharmacokinetics
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Eugenol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Eugenol / analysis
  • Eugenol / pharmacokinetics
  • Eugenol / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment


  • Biomarkers
  • Carcinogens
  • methyleugenol
  • Eugenol