International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - Summaries & Evaluations
VOL.: 40 (1986) (p. 109)
CAS No.: 140-11-4
Chem. Abstr. Name: Acetic acid, phenylmethyl ester
5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation
Benzyl acetate has been identified in several fruits, such as bael
fruit (from the Aegle marmelos tree) and quince (Cydonia vulgaris),
and in a mushroom (Agaricus species). It is a major volatile
constituent of the flowers of a number of plants, including jasmine
(Jasminium grandiflorum L.), hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis),
gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides), ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata),
alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and others. It has been used as a food
additive in fruit flavours and as a component of perfumes since the
early 1900s and is widely used as a fragrance in soaps,
detergents and incense. There is widespread human exposure to benzyl
acetate by ingestion, skin application and inhalation.
5.2 Experimental data
Benzyl acetate was tested for carcinogenicity by oral intubation in
one experiment in mice of both sexes and in one experiment in rats of
both sexes. In the study in mice, increased incidences of liver
adenomas and of combined liver adenomas and carcinomas were observed
in animals of each sex; the incidence of carcinomas of the liver alone
was not statistically significantly increased in animals of either
sex. An increased incidence of forestomach tumours was observed in
mice of each sex. An increased incidence of acinar-cell adenomas of
the pancreas was observed in male rats.
No data were available to evaluate the reproductive effects or
prenatal toxicity of benzyl acetate to experimental animals.
Benzyl acetate was reported to give negative results in the Bacillus
subtilis rec assay. It was not mutagenic to Salmonella typhimurium in
the presence or absence of an exogenous metabolic system and did not
induce sister chromatid exchanges or chromosomal aberrations in
Chinese hamster ovary cells in the presence or absence of a metabolic
system. Benzyl acetate was reported to be mutagenic in mouse lymphoma
L5178Y cells in the presence of a metabolic system.
5.3 Human data
No case report or epidemiological study of the carcinogenicity of
benzyl acetate was available to the Working Group.
There is limited evidence for the carcinogenicity of benzyl acetate to
No evaluation could be made of the carcinogenicity of benzyl acetate
For definition of the italicized terms, see Preamble Evaluation.
Subsequent evaluation: Vol. 71 (1999)
- Acetic acid, benzyl ester
- Benzyl ethanoate
- Phenylmethyl acetate
Last updated: 13 April 1999