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The carcinogenic potential of twelve refined mineral oils following long-term topical application


Twelve mineral oils, originating from naphthenic and paraffinic stocks and variously refined, were evaluated for their potential to induce cutaneous neoplasia in female CF1 mice. The oils were applied to the shorn dorsal skin for up to 78 weeks, using several different treatment regimes. The sole acid/earth refined naphthenic spindle oil was a moderately potent cutaneous carcinogen. By comparison, the 11 oils, processed by other refining routes, were less carcinogenic or non-carcinogenic to murine skin. Two of the 11 oils were weak cutaneous carcinogens viz, a naphthenic spindle oil refined only by mild hydrotreatment and a paraffinic spindle oil refined by mild solvent extraction and 'Ferrofining'. All 9 remaining oils had been solvent-extracted as part of the secondary refining process, none induced malignant tumours, although solitary benign tumours of the treated site were recorded after exposure to 3 oils. The cutaneous carcinogenic potential of the test oils did not correlate well with their potential to induce epidermal hyperplasia at the treated site. Consequently, hyperplasia caused after short term exposure is of little value for distinguishing between carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic oils.

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Doak, S., Brown, V., Hunt, P. et al. The carcinogenic potential of twelve refined mineral oils following long-term topical application. Br J Cancer 48, 429–436 (1983).

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