There is inadequate evidence in humans but sufficient evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of carbon tetrachloride. Consequently, carbon tetrachloride is in IARC group 2B and considered possibly carcinogenic to humans (IARC, 1999).
Tracey and Sherlock (1968), described a 59 year old man with an episode of carbon tetrachloride related acute renal failure, accompanied by evidence of acute liver damage. He recovered uneventfully and his liver function tests returned to normal. Seven years later he died from hepatocellular carcinoma and the authors concluded that carbon tetrachloride, which is a potent hepatocarcinogen in experimental animals, may have been carcinogenic in this individual.
Cantor et al. (1995) used mortality records from a five year period (1984-1989), coded for occupation and industry, and assessed them with regards to workplace exposures and possible breast cancer risk. Suggestive associations for probability and level of exposure were found for several organic solvents including carbon tetrachloride.
In a review of the studies of leukaemia and solvent exposures in the rubber industry, Checkoway et al. (1985) reported that the risk association of carbon tetrachloride exposure and lymphocytic leukaemia was greater than that for benzene.
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