Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHEW (NIOSH) Publication No. 78-127, (CIB 3), 1975 Jul; :1-7
Ethylene-dibromide (106934) (EDB) was discussed in relation to its physical properties, uses, toxicity in humans and animals, and occupational exposure. The primary reported use of EDB is as an additive in gasoline antiknock compounds to prevent deposition of lead, with 50 percent of the 300 million pounds produced annually used for this purpose. The second largest use noted for EDB is in fumigants for agricultural produce, with small amounts used in fire extinguishers, gauge fluids, and as catalysts or solvents in organic synthesis. Strong absorption by wheat, resistance to decomposition, and relatively low volatility, are all properties of EDB which were described as having contributed to the finding of disproportionately high levels of EDB residues in commercially fumigated grain samples. In humans, EDB has been reported to cause skin and eye irritation and injury as a result of direct contact; respiratory tract inflammation, anorexia, and headache as a result of vapor exposure; and liver and kidney damage as a result of oral ingestion. Fatal cardiac arrest, weakness, and rapid pulse have also been associated with EDB exposure. No relationship has yet been discovered between EDB and cancer in humans. The following effects of EDB in animal experiments were described: central nervous system depression, pulmonary irritation, and liver and kidney damage in rodents exposed to vapor; adverse effects on reproduction and sperm, respectively, in hens and bulls administered EDB orally; and squamous cell carcinomas in rats and mice administered 40mg/kg EDB by gastric intubation. Permissible occupational exposure standards (8 hour time weighted average OSHA standard, 20 parts per million), estimates of numbers of occupationally exposed workers in various industries (total, 9111), and producers and suppliers of EDB were listed.