Two-year inhalation toxicity study of petroleum coke in rats and monkeys

Am J Ind Med. 1987;11(3):375-89. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700110312.


Sprague-Dawley rats and Cynomolgus monkeys were exposed to dust aerosol concentrations (0, 10.2, and 30.7 mg/m3) of micronized delayed process petroleum coke for 6 hr/day, 5 days/week over 2 years. With the exception of pulmonary effects, particularly in the rats, no significant adverse treatment-related effects were observed. Both dust-exposed groups of both species exhibited a gray to black discoloration of the lung, an observation consistent with pulmonary deposition of the coke dust, as well as increased absolute and/or relative lung weight values. The pulmonary histopathology in the monkeys was limited to the deposition and phagocytosis of the test material by pulmonary macrophages. The rats also exhibited these responses, but with concomitant signs of chronic inflammation and focal areas of fibrosis, bronchiolization, sclerosis, squamous alveolar metaplasia, and keratin cyst formation. No difference in the mortality rate was observed between the control and exposed groups of rats. Lastly, no significant increases in chromosomal aberrations were observed in rodents of the 10.2 or 30.7 mg/m3 exposure groups when examined after 5 days, 12 months, and 22 months of exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Coal / adverse effects*
  • Coke / adverse effects*
  • Dust / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Lung Diseases / etiology*
  • Lung Diseases / pathology
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Petroleum / toxicity*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Trachea / pathology


  • Coal
  • Coke
  • Dust
  • Petroleum