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Administrative data

epidemiological data
Type of information:
other: epidemiological results
Adequacy of study:
other information
2 (reliable with restrictions)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
other: Review epidemiological study

Data source

Reference Type:
review article or handbook
Critical review of the epidemiology literature on the potential cancer risks of methyl methacrylate.
Tomenson JA, Carpenter AV, Pemberton MA
Bibliographic source:
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health [Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health], 78(8): 603-612

Materials and methods

Study type:
cohort study (retrospective)
Endpoint addressed:
Principles of method if other than guideline:
The review focused on studies of cast acrylic sheet manufacturing workers because this industry has historically had a potential for exposure to high levels of MMA. The majority of papers for review were identified through Medline (National Library of Medicine) but there is some discussion of two
cohort studies and a nested case-control study, which to date have not been published.
GLP compliance:
not specified

Test material

Constituent 1
Chemical structure
Reference substance name:
Methyl methacrylate
EC Number:
EC Name:
Methyl methacrylate
Cas Number:
Molecular formula:
methyl methacrylate

Results and discussion

An increased risk of colorectal cancer was reported in one group of workers highly exposed to MMA and ethyl acrylate (EA) in the manufacture of
acrylic sheet. Analysis of colon cancer by cumulative exposure to MMA indicated that the excess was largely confined to the group with the highest
exposure. However, a large excess of colon cancer deaths occurred among workers who never worked in a job entailing more than minimal exposure. Studies of other large occupational cohorts of workers potentially exposed to MMA, including some with potentially comparable exposures, have
failed to strengthen the evidence that there is a causal association between colorectal cancer and MMA exposure although one reported an excess
that did not appear to be exposure-related. Excesses of cancers of the respiratory system and stomach were seen in some cohorts, but not among
the acrylic sheet workers who had the increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Applicant's summary and conclusion

Excesses of respiratory, stomach and colorectal cancers were observed in some cohorts of workers exposed to MMA. There was little to suggest that MMA exposure was responsible for the excesses of respiratory and stomach cancer and it is more likely that they resulted from unexplained
contributions of lifestyle exposures such as cigarette smoking and diet. An excess of colorectal cancer in one group of workers exposed to high
levels of MMA and Eethyl acrylate (EA) during the 1930s and 1940s remains unexplained. However, the lack of consistency in the results of various
studies, the absence of dose response and the lack of support from animal toxicology do not provide persuasive evidence that exposure to MMA is a human carcinogen.