From the blog

New chemical raises rats’ chance of mesothelioma

Published: June 30, 2014

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer affecting around 3,000 Americans each year. In more than 70 percent of the cases, asbestos exposure is the main cause. A recent two-year study may have determined another leading contributor to the deadly disease.

Rats exposed to vinylidene chloride (VDC), an industrial toxicant, had higher malignant mesothelioma rates. The exposure increased their chances by disturbing oncogenes, allowing the uncontrolled growth of cancer.

VDC is used to make different types of chemical intermediates and agricultural chemicals. Specific uses include SARAN wrap, latex coatings and photographic/X-ray films. The compound is produced in safe areas, but trace amounts can be found in finished consumer products.

Short-term effects include irritated skin, eyes, nose and throats. Long-term may cause issues with the liver, kidneys and nervous system. Previous studies found the oral toxicity low and no link to reproductive issues, birth defects or cancer, until now.

While VDC exposure does have adverse affects with the potential for mesothelioma in rats, it’s still a new discovery and must be studied further to understand the full and lasting effects.

To read the full study, click here.


Dow Chemical Company. (2014). Product safety: VDC. [Link]

Bhusari, S. et al. (2014). Gene Expression of Mesothelioma in Vinylidene Chloride-exposed F344/N Rats Reveal Immune Dysfunction, Tissue Damage, and Inflammation Pathways. Toxicologic Pathology. [Link]

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