ToxFAQsTM for 4,4'-Methylenedianiline
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This fact sheet answers the most frequently
asked health questions about 4,4'-methylenedianiline. For more information, you may call the ATSDR Information Center at 1-800-232-4636. This fact sheet is one in a series of summaries about hazardous substances and their health effects. It is important you understand this information because this substance may harm you. The effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the dose, the duration, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present.
Exposure to 4,4'-methylenedianiline occurs mainly in the workplace. Liver damage and skin irritation may occur from exposure to high levels of 4,4'-methylenedianiline. This chemical has been found in none of the 1,445 National Priorities List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).is compound.
This chemical has been found in at least 2 of the 1,300
National Priorities List sites identified by the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA).
What is 4,4'-methylenedianiline?
4,4'-Methylenedianiline is an industrial
chemical that is not known to occur naturally. It is also
commonly known as diaminodiphenylmethane or MDA. It occurs
as a colorless to pale yellow solid and has a faint odor.
4,4'-Methylenedianiline is used mainly
for making polyurethane foams, which have a variety of uses,
such as insulating materials in mailing containers. It is
also used for making coating materials, glues, Spandex®
fiber, dyes, and rubber.
What happens to 4,4'-methylenedianiline when it enters the environment?
- 4,4'-Methylenedianiline is found in tiny particles in
air which will settle to land or water in rain or snow.
- Most of the 4,4'-methylenedianiline in water will attach
itself to particles and sink to the bottom sediment.
- 4,4'-Methylenedianiline in water or sediment will be broken
down by bacteria and other microorganisms.
- It does not build up in the food chain.
- 4,4'-Methylenedianiline becomes strongly attached to soil
and will not easily move into groundwater.
- It may take as long as 10 days for bacteria and microorganisms
in soil to break down 4,4'-methylenedianiline.
How might I be exposed to 4,4'-methylenedianiline?
- Working in an industry that makes or uses 4,4'-methylenedianiline.
- Touching consumer goods such as polyurethane foams that
- Living near a hazardous waste site where 4,4'-methylenedianiline
is disposed of.
- Being treated by a kidney dialysis machine. Tiny amounts
are released from the polyurethane parts of the machine
when it is sterilized by radiation or heat.
How can 4,4'-methylenedianiline affect my health?
Limited information is available on the
effects of 4,4'-methylenedianiline on people's health. The
available information shows that it can cause skin irritation
and liver damage. People who accidentally ate bread baked
from flour contaminated with 4,4'-methylenedianiline became
ill with a flu-like condition, consisting of stomach and chest
pains. They also exhibited jaundice, a yellowish coloring
of the skin or internal organs caused by abnormal functioning
of the liver.
Animals that breathed very high levels
of 4,4'-methylenedianiline showed eye damage, while animals
that ate food or drank water with moderate amounts of 4,4'-methylenedianiline
for months or years had liver damage and thyroid gland injuries.
Exposure of the skin to high levels of the chemical also resulted
in liver damage in animals.
It is not known whether 4,4'-methylenedianiline
can affect the development of the fetus or the ability to
fight disease in people or animals.
How likely is 4,4'-methylenedianiline to cause cancer?
The International Agency for Research
on Cancer has determined that 4,4'-methylenedianiline is possibly
carcinogenic to humans.
A study on people exposed to bread contaminated
with 4,4'-methylenedianiline did not show an increased risk
of cancer. An animal study showed cancer of the liver and
thyroid after animals drank water over their lifetimes containing
Is there a medical test to show whether I've been exposed to 4,4'-methylenedianiline?
4,4'-Methylenedianiline can be measured
in your urine to see if you have been recently exposed to
the chemical. These tests can show you were exposed to 4,4'-methylenedianiline,
but cannot predict the kind of health effects that might occur.
These tests are not routinely available in doctor's offices
and hospitals because they require special equipment.
Has the federal government made recommendations to protect human health?
The EPA requires that spills or accidental
releases into the environment of 1 pound or more of 4,4'-methylenedianiline
be reported to the EPA.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
has set an occupational exposure limit of 0.081 milligrams
of methylenedianiline per cubic meter of air (0.081 mg/m3)
for an 8-hour workday, 40-hour workweek.
The National Institute for Occupational
Safety and Health recommends that workers should not breathe
air containing more than 0.03 mg/m3
of 4,4'-methylenedianiline during a 10-hour workday, 40-hour
Carcinogenicity: Ability to cause cancer.
CAS: Chemical Abstracts Service.
Milligram (mg): One thousandth of a gram.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease
Registry (ATSDR). 1998. Toxicological Profile for 4,4'-methylenedianiline. Atlanta, GA: U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.
Where can I get more information?
If you have questions or concerns, please contact your community or state health or environmental quality department or:
For more information, contact:
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Office of Innovation and Analytics, Toxicology Section
4770 Buford Highway
Chamblee, GA 30341-3717
Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO 888-232-6348 (TTY)
Email: Contact CDC-INFO
ATSDR can also tell you the location of occupational and environmental health clinics. These clinics specialize in recognizing, evaluating, and treating illnesses resulting from exposure to hazardous substances.