Acrolein / published under the joint sponsorship of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organisation, and the World Health Organization
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AbstractEvaluates the risks to human health and the environment posed by exposure to acrolein, a chemical produced in large quantities and used as an intermediate in the synthesis of several chemicals, most notably acrylic acid and its esters and DL-methionine, an essential amino acid used as a feed supplement for poultry and cattle. Acrolein also has direct application as an aquatic biocide used against algae, molluscs, and herbs in recirculating process water systems, irrigation channels, cooling water towers, and water treatment ponds. Acrolein is estimated to account for 3 to 10% of total automobile exhaust aldehydes, 1 to 13% of total wood-smoke aldehydes, and up to 7% of the aldehydes in cigarette smoke. Concerning sources of human exposure, the report notes that exposure of the general population occurs mainly via air, with mainstream and sidestream tobacco smoke representing the most importance source. Other sources of exposure include inhalation of air polluted by vehicle exhausts, direct contact with acrolein-treated water, and consumption of alcoholic beverages and certain food items. Concerning effects on the environment, the report cites studies documenting adverse effects on crops grown on soil irrigated by acrolein-treated water, and a very high toxicity for bacteria, algae, crustacea, and fish, with bacteria being the most sensitive species. Acrolein is noted to threaten aquatic life at or near sites of industrial discharge or spills and in areas where acrolein is used as a biocide. The most extensive section reviews the large number of studies of toxicological effects conducted in laboratory mammals and in vitro test systems. Studies support the conclusion that acrolein is acutely cytotoxic, produces teratogenic and embryotoxic effects, and is weakly mutagenic. Data on carcinogenicity were judged inadequate. In humans, case reports of accidental exposures and suicidal intoxication confirm the high toxicity of this chemical, which has its most significant effects on the eyes, nose, respiratory tract, and nervous system
World Health Organization & International Programme on Chemical Safety. (1992). Acrolein / published under the joint sponsorship of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organisation, and the World Health Organization. Geneva : World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/37496
Environmental health criteria ; 127
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