Hexachloroethane is used as a veterinary anthelmintic for control of liver and stomach flukes in domestic animals. It is also used as a solvent, a camphor substitute in the preparation of Celluloid®., a rubber vulcanizing accelerator, a retarding agent in fermentation, and in explosives, pyrotechnics, and smoke devices.
A bioassay for possible carcinogenicity of technical-grade hexachloroethane was conducted using Osborne-Mendel rats and B6C3F1 mice. Hexachloroethane 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 chemical was administered 5 days a week, cyclically for 44 of 78 weeks in rats and continuously for 78 weeks in mice, followed by an observation period of 33 or 34 weeks for rats and 12 or 13 weeks for mice. The high and low time-weighted average dosages of hexachloroethane were, respectively, 423 and 212 mg/kg/day for male and female rats and 1179 and 590 mg/kg/day for male and female mice. For each species, 20 animals of each sex were placed on test as vehicle controls. These animals were gavaged with pure corn oil at the same rate as the high dose group of the same sex. Twenty animals of each sex were placed on test as untreated controls for each species. These animals were not intubated.
A statistically significant association between increased dosage and accelerated mortality was observed in male and female rats but not in mice of either sex.
Toxic tubular nephropathy was observed in all groups of treated animals.
Statistical evaluation of the incidences of hepatocellular carcinomas revealed a significant positive association between hexachloroethane administration and tumor incidence in both male and female mice. No statistical significance was attributed to the incidence of any neoplasm in rats of either sex.
No evidence was provided for the carcinogenicity of the compound in Osborne-Mendel rats. It is concluded that under the conditions of this bioassay, hexachloroethane was carcinogenic in B6C3F1 mice, inducing hepatocellular carcinomas in both sexes.