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

Phenyl glycidyl ether (Group 2B)
Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (Group 3)

For definition of Groups, see Preamble Evaluation.

VOL.: 47 (1989) (p. 237)

Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether

CAS No.: 1675-54-3
Chem. Abstr. Name: 2,2'-[(1-Methylethylidene)bis(4,1-phenyleneoxymethylene)]bis(oxirane)

Phenyl glycidyl ether

CAS No.: 122-60-1
Chem. Abstr. Name: (Phenoxymethyl)oxirane

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Exposures

Glycidyl ethers are basic components of epoxy resins which have been commercially available since the late 1940s. Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether and its oligomers are major components of epoxy resins. Other glycidyl ethers, including phenyl glycidyl ether, are frequently incorporated into epoxy resin systems as reactive modifiers. Epoxy resins based on bisphenol A diglycidyl ether are widely used in protective coatings, including paints, in reinforced plastic laminates and composites, in tooling, casting and moulding resins, in bonding materials and adhesives, and in floorings and aggregates. Occupational exposure to bisphenol A diglycidyl ether and phenyl glycidyl ether may occur during their production, during the production of epoxy products and during various uses of epoxy products, but data on exposure levels are sparse.

5.2 Experimental carcinogenicity data

Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether of various technical grades was tested by skin application in mice in five studies. In one of the studies, an increased incidence of epidermal tumours was found in one of two strains tested. In another study, a small increase in the incidence of epidermal tumours and small increases in the incidences of kidney tumours in male mice and of lymphoreticular/haematopoietic tumours in female mice were observed. No increase in the incidence of skin tumours was observed in two further studies, and the other study was inadequate for evaluation. Following subcutaneous injection of technical-grade bisphenol A diglycidyl ether to rats, a small number of local fibrosarcomas was observed. Following application of technical-grade bisphenol A diglycidyl ether to the skin of rabbits, no skin tumour was observed.

Pure bisphenol A diglycidyl ether was tested in one experiment by skin application in mice; no epidermal but a few dermal tumours were observed in males, and there was a small increase in the incidence of lymphoreticular/haematopoietic tumours in females.

Pure phenyl glycidyl ether was tested for carcinogenicity by inhalation exposure in male and female rats of one strain, producing carcinomas of the nasal cavity in animals of each sex.

5.3 Human data

No data were available to the Working Group.

5.4 Other relevant data

Some glycidyl ethers have been shown to cause allergic contact dermatitis in humans. Glycidyl ethers generally cause skin sensitization in experimental animals. Necrosis of the mucous membranes of the nasal cavities was induced in mice exposed to allyl glycidyl ether.

Prenatal toxicity was not induced in rats exposed by inhalation to phenyl glycidyl ether or in rabbits exposed dermally to bisphenol A diglycidyl ether.

One study of workers exposed to bisphenol A diglycidyl ether showed no increase in the incidence of chromosomal aberrations in peripheral lymphocytes. A study of workers with mixed exposures was inconclusive with regard to the effects of specific glycidyl ethers. Phenyl glycidyl ether, but not n-butyl glycidyl ether, induced morphological transformation in mammalian cells in vitro. n-Butyl glycidyl ether induced micronuclei in mice in vivo following intraperitoneal but not oral administration. Phenyl glycidyl ether did not induce micronuclei or chromosomal aberrations in vivo or chromosomal aberrations in animal cells in vitro. Alkyl C12 or C14 glycidyl ether did not induce DNA damage in cultured human cells or mutation in cultured animal cells. Allyl glycidyl ether induced mutation in Drosophila. The glycidyl ethers were generally mutagenic to bacteria.

5.5 Evaluation

There is sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of phenyl glycidyl ether in experimental animals.

There is limited evidence for the carcinogenicity of bisphenol A diglycidyl ether in experimental animals.

No data were available from studies in humans on the carcinogenicity of glycidyl ethers.

Overall evaluation

Phenyl glycidyl ether is possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).

Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans (Group 3).

For definition of the italicized terms, see Preamble Evaluation.

Subsequent evaluation: Vol. 71 (1999) (Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether); (Phenyl glycidyl ether)

Synonyms for Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether

Synonyms for Phenyl glycidyl ether

Last updated: 13 April 1999

    See Also:
       Toxicological Abbreviations