The effects of long-term exposure to ozokerite mainly consisting of an aliphatic series of hydrocarbons using F344 rats

Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 May:55:476-83. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.01.034. Epub 2013 Feb 4.


Combined chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity studies of ozokerite (OZK), a natural wax substance used as a food additive for a gum base, were performed in male and female F344 rats. Dietary concentrations of 0%, 0.05%, 0.1% and 0.2% OZK were applied in a 52-week chronic toxicity study and 0%, 0.1% and 0.2% in a 104-week carcinogenicity study. In the chronic toxicity study, treatment with OZK caused a xenobiotic reaction against absorbed OZK, including formation of histiocytosis and granulomas with crystalline material in many organs in all of the treated males and females. Particularly in the liver, granulomatous inflammation was accompanied by hepatocellular vacuolation and changes in the serum biochemical parameters indicative of hepatic disorder. The number and area of glutathione S-transferase placental form (GST-P) positive foci were increased in all of the treated groups of both sexes, suggesting the proliferative effect of OZK. In the carcinogenicity study, the incidence of hepatocellular adenoma and the total tumor incidence in the liver of all of the treated males were significantly increased compared with the controls. In conclusion, long-term exposure to OZK caused systemic chronic inflammation due to a foreign body response. OZK was weakly carcinogenic in the liver of male F344 rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogenicity Tests
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Survival Rate
  • Waxes / toxicity*


  • Waxes
  • ozocerite