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Vinyl Chloride


Janet Gray, Ph.D.
Janet Gray, Ph.D.

As author of our 2008 and 2010 State of the Evidence reports, Dr. Gray drives the science behind all our work.

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CATEGORY*: IARC probable carcinogen, NTP known carcinogen

FOUND IN: Outdoor and indoor air pollution, tobacco smoke

THE GIST: Both the EPA and the National Toxicology Program consider 1,3-butadiene to be a human carcinogen. An air pollutant, 1,3-butadiene causes mammary and ovary tumors in female mice and rats.

State of the Evidence on 1,3-butadiene

The chemical 1,3-butadiene is an air pollutant created by internal combustion engines and petroleum refineries. It is also used in the manufacture and processing of synthetic rubber products and some fungicides. In addition, 1,3-butadiene is found in tobacco smoke.


Stay far away from cigarette smoke, internal combustion engines and petroleum refineries if possible.

Tips for protecting yourself and your environment >

The EPA determined that 1,3-butadiene is carcinogenic to humans, with the main route of exposure being through inhalation. The National Toxicology Program classifies 1,3-butadiene as a known human carcinogen (NTP, 1993). Data from research on animals indicate that females may be more vulnerable to the carcinogenic effects of 1,3-butadiene (EPA, 2003), which is known to cause mammary and ovary tumors in female mice and rats. This pollutant also produces greater toxic effects in younger rodent populations than in mature ones (Melnick, 1999; NTP, 1993).

*For chemicals that have been shown to be carcinogens, we provide classifications from two authoritative bodies: the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, an international body) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). We have categorized endocrine-disrupting compounds where the body of peer-reviewed research indicates a strong foundation for doing so.