1,3-Butadiene has been assessed as a Priority Substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The general population in Canada is exposed to 1,3-butadiene primarily through ambient air. Inhaled 1,3-butadiene is carcinogenic in both mice and rats, inducing tumors at multiple sites at all concentrations tested in all identified studies. In addition, 1,3-butadiene is genotoxic in both somatic and germ cells of rodents. It also induces adverse effects in the reproductive organs of female mice at relatively low concentrations. The greater sensitivity in mice than in rats to induction of these effects by 1,3-butadiene is likely related to species differences in metabolism to active epoxide metabolites. Exposure to 1,3-butadiene in the occupational environment has been associated with the induction of leukemia; there is also some limited evidence that 1,3-butadiene is genotoxic in exposed workers. Therefore, in view of the weight of evidence of available epidemiological and toxicological data, 1,3-butadiene is considered highly likely to be carcinogenic, and likely to be genotoxic, in humans. Estimates of the potency of butadiene to induce cancer have been derived on the basis of both epidemiological investigation and bioassays in mice and rats. Potencies to induce ovarian effects have been estimated on the basis of studies in mice. Uncertainties have been delineated, and, while there are clear species differences in metabolism, estimates of potency to induce effects are considered justifiably conservative in view of the likely variability in metabolism across the population related to genetic polymorphism for enzymes for the critical metabolic pathway.
1,3-Butadiene was included in the second list of Priority Substances to be assessed under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Potential hazards to human health were characterized on the basis of critical examination of available data on health effects in experimental animals and occupationally exposed human populations, as well as information on mode of action. Based on consideration of all relevant data identified as of April 1998, butadiene was considered highly likely to be carcinogenic to humans, and likely to be a somatic and germ cell genotoxicant in humans. In addition, butadiene may also be a reproductive toxicant in humans. Estimates of the potency of butadiene to induce these effects have been derived on the basis of quantitation of observed exposure-response relationships for the purposes of characterization of risk to the general population in Canada exposed to butadiene in the ambient environment.