Exposure to chloroprene (126998) resulting in increased incidence of skin and lung cancer is reviewed. Animal experiments indicate that chloroprene has an adverse affect on embryo development in rats and mice. General background chemical information on chloroprene is given. It is produced mainly for polymerization and marketed as Neoprene (69028371). Neoprene occurs in two classes: the sulfur (7704349) modified type, and the non sulfur modified type, indicating the difference in polymerization. Neoprene is resistant to weather conditions, oil, abrasion, heat, flame, oxygen, ozone, and solvents. The automobile industry is the largest consumer of neoprene. The primary responses to chloroprene appear to be central nervous system depression and injury to lungs, liver, and kidney. A large scale epidemiological investigation performed in Russia indicated that 137 cases of skin cancer were discovered during the examination of 24,989 workers. When subdivided by employment, the incidence of skin cancer was greater in the chloroprene group. In animal experiments, low concentrations of chloroprene cause degenerative changes in the male reproductive organs. In rats and mice it causes an increase in total embryo mortality and reduction in fetal weight. An estimated 2500 workers have been exposed to chloroprene in the United States.
Office of Occupational Health Surveillance and Biometrics, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, 9 pages, 15 references