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

(Group 3)

For definition of Groups, see Preamble Evaluation.

VOL.: 71 (1999) (p. 545)

CAS No.: 68-12-2
Chem. Abstr. Name: N,N-Dimethylformamide

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Exposure data

Exposures to dimethylformamide occur during its production and during the production of inks, adhesives, resins, fibres, pharmaceuticals, synthetic leather, and its use as a purification or separation solvent in organic synthesis. It has been detected in ambient air and water.

5.2 Human carcinogenicity data

Case reports of testicular cancer in aircraft repair and leather tannery facilities suggested possible association with dimethylformamide. Further research has failed to confirm this relationship. A screening effort at a leather tannery, where a cancer cluster had been noted, identified no additional cases. Mortality and cancer incidence studies and nested case–control investigations of testicular cancer and several other anatomical sites at several facilities with exposure to dimethylformamide noted no convincing associations.

5.3 Animal carcinogenicity data

Dimethylformamide was adequately tested for carcinogenicity by inhalation in one study in mice and one study in rats. No increase in tumours was found.

5.4 Other relevant data

Acute exposure of humans or experimental animals to relatively high concentrations of dimethylformamide causes hepatotoxicity as a major toxic effect.

Reports on chromosomal damage in workers exposed to dimethylformamide either failed to take into account smoking as a bias factor or were documented incompletely.

Dimethylformamide has been extensively tested in a broad range of in-vitro and in-vivo genotoxicity assays. Results have been consistently negative in well controlled studies.

5.5 Evaluation

There is inadequate evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of dimethylformamide.

There is evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity of dimethylformamide in experimental animals.

Overall evaluation

Dimethylformamide is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans (Group 3).

For definition of the italicized terms, see Preamble Evaluation.

Previous evaluation: Vol. 47 (1989)


Last updated: 12 April 1999

    See Also:
       Toxicological Abbreviations
       Dimethylformamide (EHC 114, 1991)
       Dimethylformamide (HSG 43, 1990)