1,2-Dichloroethane, a chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbon, is one of several halogenated solvents selected for bioassay by the National Cancer Institute. Although the major use of 1,2-dichloroethane is as an intermediate in the synthesis of vinyl chloride, the compound also finds application as a constituent in lead-containing antiknock preparations, as an ingredient in fumigant-insecticide formulations and, to a more limited extent, as a component of metal degreasing mixtures. 1,2-Dichloroethane is additionally employed as an intermediate in the synthesis of the chlorinated solvents 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethylene, and perchloroethylene and as a constituent of rubber cements and acrylic-type adhesive formulations.
A bioassay of technical-grade 1,2-dichloroethane for possible carcinogenicity was conducted using Osborne-Mendel rats and B6C3F1 mice. 1,2-Dichloroethane in corn oil was administered by gavage, at either of two dosages, to groups of 50 male and 50 female animals of each species. The 78-week period of chemical administration was followed by an observation period of 32 weeks for the low dose rats of both sexes. The last high dose male rat died after 23 weeks of observation and the last high dose female rat died after 15 weeks of observation. All treated groups of mice were observed for an additional 12 or 13 weeks following chemical administration.
Initial dosage levels for the chronic bioassay were selected on the basis of a preliminary subchronic toxicity test. Subsequent dosage adjustments were made during the course of the chronic bioassay. The time-weighted average high and low doses of 1,2-dichloroethane in the chronic study were 95 and 47 mg/kg/day, respectively, for rats of both sexes. The high and low time-weighted average doses for the male mice were 195 and 97 mg/kg/day, respectively, and 299 and 149 mg/kg/day, respectively, for the female mice.
For each species, 20 animals of each sex were placed on test as vehicle controls. These animals were gavaged with corn oil at the same times that dosed animals were gavaged with the 1,2-dichloroethane mixtures. Twenty animals of eachsex were placed on test as untreated controls for each species. These animals were not intubated.
A statistically significant positive association between dosage and the incidence of squamous-cell carcinomas of the forestomach and hemangiosarcomas of the circulatory system occurred in the male rats, but not in the females. There was also a significantly increased incidence of adenocarcinomas of the mammary gland in female rats.
The incidences of mammary adenocarcinomas in female mice were statistically significant. There was a statistically significant positive association between chemical administration and the combined incidences of endometrial stromal polyps and endometrial stromal sarcomas in female mice. The incidence of alveolar/bronchiolar adenomas in both male and female mice was also statistically significant.
Under the conditions of this study, 1,2-dichloroethane was carcinogenic to Osborne-Mendel rats, causing squamous-cell carcinomas of the forestomach, hemangiosarcomas, and subcutaneous fibromas in male rats and causing mammary adenocarcinomas in female rats. This compound was also found to be carcinogenic to B6C3F1 mice, causing mammary adenocarcinomas and endometrial tumors in female mice, and causing alveolar/bronchiolar adenomas in mice of both sexes.