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CDC - Cancer Cluster archived website note

Historical Document

This document is provided by the National Center for Environmental Health ONLY as an historical reference for the public health community. It is no longer being maintained and the data it contains may no longer be current and/or accurate.

For current information about cancer clusters, please visit

What is o-phenylphenol (OPP)?

OPP is a fungicide used to control fungi and bacteria growth on stored crops, such as fruits and vegetables.

OPP is also a disinfectant compound. A disinfectant is a substance used to kill or inactivate disease-producing microscopic plants and animals on inanimate (nonliving) objects. OPP is commonly found in commercial disinfectant products. It is no longer in household disinfectants.

How can people be exposed to OPP?

  • By breathing it or through skin contact at a workplace where OPP is produced or used
  • By breathing indoor and outdoor air and eating food and drinking water contaminated with OPP, and through skin contact with this compound and household disinfectant products containing OPP.

Can exposure to OPP make people sick?

Exposure to OPP can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. Large exposures can cause headache, dizziness, nervousness, blurred vision, weakness, nausea, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, small pupils, tearing, and salivation. In severe cases, uncontrollable muscle twitches followed by muscular weakness, seizures, coma, and irregular heartbeat can occur.

Can OPP cause any types of cancer?

We do not have enough information in animals or humans to know whether exposure to OPP causes cancer.

Can OPP cause leukemia?

We found no reports of any research linking OPP with leukemia.

Can OPP cause reproductive or developmental problems?

According to CDC, OPP has not been tested to show whether it affects reproduction or development in humans.

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