This article is a verbatim version of the original and is not available for edits or additions by EoE editors or authors. Companion articles on the same topic that are editable may exist within the EoE.
|CAS#: 87-68-3 |
This Public Health Statement is the summary chapter from the Toxicological Profile for hexachlorobutadiene. It is one in a series of Public Health Statements about hazardous substances and their health effects. A shorter version, the ToxFAQs™, is also available. This information is important because this substance may harm you. The effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the [dose], the duration, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present. For more information, call the ATSDR Information Center at 1-888-422-8737.
This Statement was prepared to give you information about hexachlorobutadiene and to emphasize the human health effects that may result from exposure to it. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified 1,350 hazardous waste sites as the most serious in the nation. These sites comprise the "National Priorities List" (NPL): Those sites which are targeted for long-term federal cleanup activities. Hexachlorobutadiene has been found in at least 45 of the sites on the NPL. However, the number of NPL sites evaluated for hexachlorobutadiene is not known. As EPA evaluates more sites, the number of sites at which hexachlorobutadiene is found may increase. This information is important because exposure to hexachlorobutadiene may cause harmful health effects and because these sites are potential or actual sources of human exposure to hexachlorobutadiene.
When a substance is released from a large area, such as an industrial plant, or from a container, such as a drum or bottle, it enters the environment. This release does not always lead to exposure. You can be exposed to a substance only when you come in contact with it. You may be exposed by breathing, eating, or drinking substances containing the substance or by skin contact with it.
If you are exposed to a substance such as hexachlorobutadiene, many factors will determine whether harmful health effects will occur and what the type and severity of those health effects will be. These factors include the dose (how much), the duration (how long), the route or pathway by which you are exposed (breathing, eating, drinking, or skin contact), the other chemicals to which you are exposed, and your individual characteristics such as age, gender, nutritional status, family traits, life-style, and state of health.
What is hexachlorobutadiene?
Hexachlorobutadiene, also known as HCBD, perchlorobutadiene, or Dolen-Pur, is a colorless liquid. It does not evaporate or burn easily. Hexachlorobutadiene has a turpentine-like odor. Most people will begin to smell a mild to pungent odor if the compound is present in air at 1 part hexachlorobutadiene per million parts of air (ppm). It is not known how it tastes or at what level people can taste it.
Hexachlorobutadiene does not occur naturally in the environment. It is formed during the processing of other chemicals such as tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, and carbon tetrachloride. Hexachlorobutadiene is an intermediate in the manufacture of rubber compounds and lubricants. It is used as a fluid for gyroscopes, a heat transfer liquid, or a hydraulic fluid. Outside of the United States it is used to kill soil pests.
How can hexachlorobutadiene affect my health?
In one study of workers at a solvent production plant who breathed hexachlorobutadiene for long periods, the compound was shown to affect the function of the liver. Because the workers were also exposed to other solvents (carbon tetrachloride and perchloroethylene), it is not certain if this effect was caused by hexachlorobutadiene alone. Studies in mice showed that brief exposure to high concentrations of hexachlorobutadiene irritate the nose. The effects of breathing low levels of hexachlorobutadiene are not known.
Ingestion of hexachlorobutadiene damaged the kidneys of rats and mice and, to a lesser extent, the liver of rats. These effects occurred after both short- and long-term exposures at very low dose levels. Young rats were affected more than adult rats. The kidneys of female rats appeared to be affected more than those of males. On the other hand, the liver of male rats was affected, but the liver of female rats was not. It is not clear if the differences between the sexes might be seen in humans. Kidney, brain, and liver damage were also seen in rabbits after contact of their skin with the compound for a short period.
Hexachlorobutadiene decreased fetal body weight in rats, but did not affect fetal development or impair their ability to produce offspring. The lungs, heart, brain, blood, muscles, and skeleton in rats or mice were not damaged after short- or long-term exposure.
Studies in rats indicate that hexachlorobutadiene may increase the risk of kidney cancer if exposures occur for long periods. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that hexachlorobutadiene is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity in humans, but indicated that there was limited evidence that hexachlorobutadiene was carcinogenic in rats. EPA has determined that hexachlorobutadiene is a possible human carcinogen.
Is there a medical test to determine whether I have been exposed to hexachlorobutadiene?
Exposure to hexachlorobutadiene can be determined by measuring the chemical or its breakdown products in blood, urine, or fat. These tests are not usually performed in most doctors' offices because special equipment is needed. Samples can be collected and sent to special laboratories to determine if you were exposed to hexachlorobutadiene. These tests cannot determine how much of the chemical you were exposed to or if adverse health effects will occur as a result of the exposure.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).1994.Toxological profile for hexachlorobutadiene. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.