Human Health Effects of Biphenyl: Key Findings and Scientific Issues

Environmental Health Perspectives
Zheng LiSusan Rieth


In support of the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has evaluated the human health hazards of biphenyl exposure. We review key findings and scientific issues regarding expected human health effects of biphenyl. Scientific literature from 1926 through September 2012 was critically evaluated to identify potential human health hazards associated with biphenyl exposure. Key issues related to the carcinogenicity and noncancer health hazards of biphenyl were examined based on evidence from experimental animal bioassays and mechanistic studies. Systematic consideration of experimental animal studies of oral biphenyl exposure took into account the variety of study designs (e.g., study sizes, exposure levels, and exposure durations) to reconcile differing reported results. The available mechanistic and toxicokinetic evidence supports the hypothesis that male rat urinary bladder tumors arise through urinary bladder calculi formation but is insufficient to hypothesize a mode of action for liver tumors in female mice. Biphenyl and its metabolites may induce genetic damage, but a role for genotoxicity in biphenyl-induced carcinogenicity has not been established. The available health ef...Continue Reading


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