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


VOL.: 19 (1979) (p. 187)

Methyl methacrylate
CAS No.: 80-62-6
Chem. Abstr. Name: 2-Methy1-2-propenoic acid methyl ester

Polymethyl methacrylate
CAS No.: 9011-14-7
Chem. Abstr. Name: 2-Methyl-2-propenoic acid methyl ester homopolymer

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Experimental data

Methyl methacrylate was tested by oral administration and by skin application in rats. These studies were considered inadequate by the Working Group for an evaluation of the carcinogenicity of this compound. No data on the mutagenicity of methyl methacrylate alone were available to the Working Group.

Polymethyl methacrylate, when implanted intramuscularly, subcutaneously or intraperitoneally as discs, produced local sarcomas in rats. In mice, subcutaneous implantation of polymethyl methacrylate films also resulted in local sarcomas. Intramuscular implantation of polymethyl methacrylate in guinea-pigs and implantation into the cheek pouch in hamsters produced no implantation site tumours.

5.2 Human data

No case reports or epidemiological studies relating to the carcinogenicity of methyl methacrylate or polymethyl methacrylate were available to the Working Group. The wide use of both materials, including major industrial and specialized medical products, particularly in surface coatings, indicates human exposure. This has been documented in two studies that relate to the toxicity of these substances.

5.3 Evaluation

The data available to the Working Group do not permit an evaluation of the carcinogenicity to humans of methyl methacrylate or polymethyl methacrylate. However, the results of available animal experiments, together with evidence both of occupational exposure by inhalation and of exposure by implantation arising from medical applications, indicate the need for experimental and epidemiological studies.

Subsequent evaluation: Suppl. 7 (1987) (p. 70: Polymethyl methacrylate - Group 3); Vol. 60 (1994) (Methyl methacrylate)

For definition of Groups, see Preamble Evaluation.

Synonyms for Methyl methacrylate

Synonyms for Polymethyl methacrylate

Last updated: 30 March 1998

    See Also:
       Toxicological Abbreviations