Summary Review of Health Effects Associated with Naphthalene: Health Issue Assessment (1987)
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Administration of naphthalene by routes other than inhalation has been shown to produce cataracts in rats, rabbits, and one mouse strain. Animal strains with pigmented eyes develop cataracts faster and more severely than albino strains. The likely causative agent is polyphenol oxydase, found only in pigmented eyes, that catalyzes the formation of 1,2-naphthoquione which binds to lens tissue. Negative results have been reported for gene mutations (Salmonella), unscheduled DNA synthesis in rat hepatocytes and microneuclei in mouse bone marrow. Limited teratology studies in rats and rabbits reported no gross abnormalities. In a single dose (300 mg/kg) study in mice, both maternal and fetal toxicity were reported.