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


VOL.: 29 (1982) (p. 49)

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Experimental data

Benzyl chloride was tested in mice by skin application and in rats by subcutaneous injection. Sarcomas at the injection site were observed in rats. A few skin carcinomas were observed in a limited number of mice, but their incidence was not statistically significant.

Benzyl chloride is a direct-acting mutagen to bacteria. It induces mitotic recombination in yeast and transforms hamster embryo cells.

The available data are inadequate to assess the teratogenicity of this compound to experimental animals.

5.2 Human data

Occupational exposure to benzyl chloride may occur during its manufacture and during its use in the production of benzyl phthalates, benzyl alcohol, quaternary ammonium salts, pharmaceuticals and benzyl esters; but no data were available on levels of exposure.

No data were available to assess the mutagenicity or teratogenicity of this compound to man.

No case report or epidemiological study involving exposure to benzyl chloride alone was available to the Working Group. Six cases of respiratory cancer have been reported among benzoyl chloride manufacturing workers in two small plants, who were also potentially exposed to benzyl chloride. The cases occurred in relatively young workers, three of whom were nonsmokers.

5.3 Evaluation

There is limited evidence that benzyl chloride is carcinogenic in experimental animals.

Although the epidemiological data were inadequate to evaluate the carcinogenicity of benzyl chloride alone, they provide limited evidence that employment in the production of benzoyl chloride and its chlorinated toluene precursors, which involves exposure to benzyl chloride, represents a carcinogenic risk to man.

No evaluation could be made of the carcinogenicity to man of benzyl chloride itself.

For definition of the italicized terms, see Preamble Evaluation.

Previous evaluation: Vol. 11 (1976)

Subsequent evaluation: Vol. 71 (1999)

Last updated: 9 April 1998

    See Also:
       Toxicological Abbreviations
       Benzyl chloride (ICSC)
       Benzyl Chloride (IARC Summary & Evaluation, Volume 11, 1976)