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Worksite Health

Bladder cancer toxology

01/15/2008

Question:

I have bladder cancer and worked with solvents cleaning printing screens 25 years ago (over a 3 year period). One of the solvents commonly used was labeled "2-naptha" (possibly spelling error due to length of time involved). When I asked about the solvent I was told it was napthalene which was expanded to 2-napthalene when I asked further. It was basically a clear liquid and a solvent eventually evaporating. Is there such a thing as 2-napthalene (or similar spelling)? Is there a chemical with a name like 2-napthalene that is a clear liquid? Could it be related to my bladder cancer? Thanks for any help you can provide.

Answer:

Naphthalene is a white solid and is used as mothball material. The smell is very distinct. Additionally, 1-methylnaphthalene and 2- methylnaphthalene are found in industry. I think the chemical in question is 2-methylnaphthalene, which is an organic compound used in a number of industrial processes. It, like naphthalene itself, is a solid at room temperature. 1-methylnaphthalene is a colorless liquid - is it possible that was the chemical?

Exposure by inhalation, dermal, or oral routes has not been found to be associated with cancers in humans. As far as I can see, the major health effect of exposure to these compounds is a form of anemia.

Although academic in nature, here is a document published by the CDC that may provide some more information:

Toxicological Profile for Naphthalene, 1-Methylnaphthalene, and 2-Methylnaphthalene

For more information:

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Response by:

J Mac Crawford, PhD, RN J Mac Crawford, PhD, RN
Clinical Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences
College of Public Health
The Ohio State University