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

(Group 3)

For definition of Groups, see Preamble Evaluation.

VOL.: 71 (1999) (p. 1119)

CAS No.: 108-46-3
Chem. Abstr. Name: 1,3-Benzenediol

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Exposure data

Exposure to resorcinol may occur in its production, in the manufacture of adhesives, rubber, wood products, dyes and pharmaceuticals. It has been detected at low levels in groundwater and occurs in wood smoke and tobacco smoke.

5.2 Human carcinogenicity data

No data were available to the Working Group.

5.3 Animal carcinogenicity data

Resorcinol was tested for carcinogenicity in one experiment in mice and in one experiment in rats by oral administration. It was also tested in mice by skin application. No carcinogenic effect was observed in these experiments.

In several experiments in rats and hamsters, resorcinol was tested for promoting activity after initiation by known carcinogens. It did not enhance the incidence of tumours of the bladder, forestomach, liver or kidney.

In one study, resorcinol increased the incidence of tongue and oesophageal tumours after initiation with N-nitrosomethyl-n-amylamine.

5.4 Other relevant data

Resorcinol is water-soluble and readily conjugated and eliminated. The chemical has no known potential for formation of electrophilic reactive intermediates comparable to those derived from the other dihydroxybenzenes. Resorcinol was tested in various genetic toxicology assays, including in-vitro bacterial and mammalian assays and in-vivo mammalian assays. It gave negative results in all studies, with the exception of a positive response in the two in-vitro studies that assessed chromosomal aberrations in human lymphocytes from whole blood cultures; however, resorcinol did not induce chromosomal aberrations in human fibroblasts.

5.5 Evaluation

No epidemiological data relevant to the carcinogenicity of resorcinol were available.

There is inadequate evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of resorcinol.

Overall evaluation

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

For definition of the italicized terms, see Preamble Evaluation.

Previous evaluations: Vol. 15 (1977); Suppl. 7 (1987)


Last updated: 13 April 1999

    See Also:
       Toxicological Abbreviations
       Resorcinol (ICSC)
       RESORCINOL (JECFA Evaluation)
       Resorcinol (CICADS 71, 2006)