Acute, pharmacokinetic, and subchronic toxicological studies of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid

Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1987 Oct;9(3):423-35. doi: 10.1016/0272-0590(87)90025-x.


The single-dose oral LD50 values in Fischer 344 rats for technical-grade, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), esters, and salts ranged from 553 mg/kg (isobutyl ester in females) to 1090 mg/kg (dimethylamine salt in males). The LD50 values for the acid, esters, or salts, when expressed as acid equivalents, were consistent which suggests that the acute toxicity was due to 2,4-D per se. Acute dermal LD50 values in rabbits for the acid, esters, and salts were greater than 2000 mg/kg. Overall, these results indicate that the acute oral and dermal toxicity of 2,4-D are low. Pharmacokinetics were evaluated in male Fischer 344 rats given single oral doses of 10, 25, 50, 100, or 150 mg 2,4-[14C]D/kg. The amount of 2,4-D in the plasma, kidney, and urine 6 hr postdosing indicated that the urinary elimination of 2,4-D was saturated in male rats given oral doses in excess of 50 mg/kg. Subchronic dietary studies in male and female Fischer 344 rats used dose levels of 0, 15, 60, 100, or 150 mg/kg/day of purified or technical-grade 2,4-D acid for 13 weeks. Body weight gains were decreased for both sexes at the higher dose levels of purified and technical-grade 2,4-D acid. Kidney weights were increased in all treated male rats and in females given the higher three dose levels of purified 2,4-D. Treatment-related cytoplasmic alterations were present in the renal proximal tubules of most rats given 60 mg/kg/day and higher of purified or technical-grade 2,4-D; a few females given 15 mg/kg/day also had slight alterations in the cytoplasm of the proximal tubules. A dose-related degenerative change was identified in the descending proximal renal tubules of all male rats given the highest three dose levels of either test material and some given 15 mg/kg/day. Dose levels of 100 or 150 mg/kg/day of either compound for both sexes produced minimal swelling and increased staining homogeneity in the liver cells and were associated with a slight elevation of liver weight and serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase activity. Higher dose levels of technical-grade and purified 2,4-D decreased total serum tetraiodothyronine levels in female rats, however, the morphology of the thyroid gland was normal. The no-observed-effect level (NOEL) was less than 15 mg/kg/day for both purified and technical-grade 2,4-D acid.

MeSH terms

  • 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid / administration & dosage
  • 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid / pharmacokinetics
  • 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid / toxicity*
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Lethal Dose 50
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344


  • 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid