Industrial Chemicals– Possible Carcinogen (IARC 2B)
CAS No. 79-46-9
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
IARC Monograph Vol. 71, 1999 (Group 2B)
2-Nitropropane is a colourless, oily liquid with a mild and sweet odour.[2,3] It is flammable and soluble in water. It may also be referred to as dimethylnitromethane or isonitropropane. There are numerous other synonyms and product names; see HSDB for more information.
2-Nitropropane was classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as Group 2B, possibly carcinogenic to humans, based on animal studies linking exposure to liver cancer in rats. The carcinogenicity of 2-nitropropane in humans was not evaluated due to the lack of adequate epidemiological data.
Chronic inhalation of 2-nitropropane in occupational settings is associated with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe headaches, and pulmonary irritation. Acute exposure to high concentrations of 2-nitropropane can cause liver damage and death.[6,7]
stel = short term exposure limit (15 min. maximum)
c = ceiling (not to be exceeded at any time)
TLV = threshold limit value (8 hour maximum)
ACGIH = American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
Canadian Environmental Guidelines
Environment Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory
Reportable to NPRI if manufactured, processed, or otherwise used at quantities greater than 10 tonnes
CE = permitted as carriers or extraction solvents
ppm = parts per million
2-Nitropropane was not included in other Canadian environmental guidelines reviewed.[24,25,26]
DSL - high priority substance with intermediate potential for exposure
Challenge to Industry
DSL = domestic substance list
2-Nitropropane is not included in Environment Canada's Toxic Substance List (CEPA Schedule 1).
2-Nitropropane is primarily used as a solvent in inks, paints, varnishes, coatings, adhesives, and various organic compound resins.[2,5] 2-Nitropropane is also used as a chemical intermediate in producing propane derivatives such as 2-nitro-2-methyl-1-propanol and 2-amino-2-methyl-1-propanol.[2,3] It is used to a lesser extent as: a component in paint and varnish removers; a chemical intermediate in manufacturing pharmaceuticals, dyes, insecticides, and textile chemicals;[6,7] and an additive in explosives, propellants, and fuels for internal combustion.
Canadian Production and Trade
2-Nitropropane is not manufactured in reportable quantities in Canada. No quantitative Canadian commercial production and trade information was found for 2-nitropropane.[30,31]
Inhalation is the most important route of occupational exposure to 2-nitropropane, although ingestion and dermal exposures are also possible.[2,3] The main occupations exposed include: workers involved in 2-nitropropane manufacturing and handling; paint, ink, pigment coating, and varnish production; printing and painting; industrial construction and maintenance; shipbuilding and maintenance; furniture manufacturing; tire manufacturing; food packaging; and scientific research.[2,3]
Since producing 2-nitropropane is often an enclosed process, exposure is limited. The highest exposures occur during handling, transport, and use of 2-nitropropane and 2-nitropropane-containing products.
CAREX Canada has not prioritized 2-nitropropane for exposure estimate development. This is because there is a lack of exposure monitoring data in the Canadian Workplace Exposure Database on which to base an estimate.
Environmental exposure to 2-nitropropane is estimated to be very low in Canada.[3,7] Sources of potential environmental exposure include contaminated ambient air and water near industrial sites of 2-nitropropane manufacture and use, as well as cigarette smoke.
2-Nitropropane may be present in trace amounts in certain pharmaceuticals that use 2-nitropropane as a chemical intermediate during production. Approximately 1.1-1.2 µg of 2-nitropropane is present in the mainstream smoke of a single unfiltered cigarette.
Exposure may also occur by consuming foods processed with solvents containing 2-nitropropane or packaged with materials containing 2-nitropropane, such as beverage can coatings and packaging inks.[3,7] Recent food packaging submissions to Health Canada's Food Directorate suggest that the latter use is unlikely in Canada. Using 2-nitropropane as a carrier and extraction solvent in vegetable oil is permitted in Canada, though this is no longer practiced.[7,23] The World Health Organization does not recommend using 2-nitropropane in food processing, however Canadians may be exposed by consuming imported foods processed with 2-nitropropane.[3,7]
Use of 2-nitropropane in consumer products has largely been eliminated. Adhesives, paints, and coatings containing 2-nitropropane are mostly used in industrial and commercial applications. Release of 2-nitropropane into the environment is reportable to the NPRI in Canada. No releases have been reported since 1996, when 0.125 tonnes were released by 1 company involved in plastics and foam manufacture.[7,32]
2-Nitropropane is not included in the Household Products Database.
Our team has performed a detailed scan of exposure control resources and assembled a compilation of key publications and resources. These are organized by type of exposure (environmental or occupational) and by specificity (general or carcinogen-specific). Please visit our Exposures Reduction Resources page to view.
We also recommend exploring the Prevention Policies Directory, a freely-accessible online tool offering information on policies related to cancer and chronic disease prevention. Providing summaries of the policies and direct access to the policy documents, the Directory allows users to search by carcinogen, risk factor, jurisdiction, geographical location, and document type. Click here to learn more about policies specific to 2-nitropropane in the Directory. For questions about this resource, please contact a member of the Prevention Team at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer at firstname.lastname@example.org.