International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - Summaries & Evaluations

(Group 2B)

For definition of Groups, see Preamble Evaluation.

VOL.: 71 (1999) (p. 1143)

CAS No.: 116-14-3
Chem. Abstr. Name: Tetrafluoroethene

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Exposure data

Tetrafluoroethylene is used in the manufacture of polytetrafluoroethylene and other polymers. No information on potential human exposure is available.

5.2 Human carcinogenicity data

No data were available to the Working Group.

5.3 Animal carcinogenicity data

Tetrafluoroethylene was tested for carcinogenicity in one study in mice and one study in rats by inhalation. In both sexes of mice, it increased the incidence of hepatocellular carcinomas, histiocytic sarcomas and haemangiosarcomas in the liver. In rats of both sexes, it increased the incidence of hepatocellular carcinomas and kidney tubule cell adenomas.

5.4 Other relevant data

Tetrafluoroethylene is metabolized by hepatic glutathione S-transferase and the resulting cysteine conjugate is further metabolized by renal b-lyase. This pathway results in the formation of a reactive thiol that causes kidney toxicity in rats.

Tetrafluoroethylene did not induce micronuclei in mouse erythrocytes and the metabolite tetrafluoroethylcysteine was not mutagenic in Salmonella typhimurium.

5.5 Evaluation

No epidemiological data relevant to the carcinogenicity of tetrafluoroethylene were available.

There is sufficient evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of tetrafluoroethylene.

Overall evaluation

Tetrafluoroethylene is possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).

For definition of the italicized terms, see Preamble Evaluation.

Previous evaluations: Vol. 19 (1979); Suppl. 7 (1987)


Last updated: 13 April 1999

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       Toxicological Abbreviations