Butane-2-one oxime as a potential carcinogen for humans – evidence and effects on businesses resulting from reclassification
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Instytut Medycyny Pracy im. prof. J. Nofera / Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (Zakład Bezpieczeństwa Chemicznego / Department of Chemical Safety)
Online publication date: 2022-12-20
Corresponding author
Małgorzata Kupczewska-Dobecka   

Instytut Medycyny Pracy im. prof. J. Nofera, Zakład Bezpieczeństwa Chemicznego, ul. św. Teresy 8, 91-348 Łódź
Med Pr 2022;73(6):457–470
Evidence of a change in the carcinogenicity category of butan-2-one oxime (MEKO) and the results of this change for manufacturing and using companies was presented and assessed. The online databases of scientific journals were reviewed, taking into account the reports on the harmonization of MEKO classification and labeling at EU level available on the ECHA website. Commission Regulation (EU) 2020/1182 introduced harmonized classification and labeling of MEKO for carcinogenicity to category 1B. The induction of tumors, the nature and importance of tumors for humans, and the sensitivity of the 2 species tested, both sexes – all of these factors support the classification of MEKO into the carcinogenicity category 1B. On the other hand, MEKO is negative in genotoxicity studies, including in mammalian cells and in vivo in animals. This is the argument that the classification of MEKO as carcinogen category 2 remains appropriate. The change in the MEKO carcinogenicity category results in legal consequences for companies, such as compliance with the conditions of REACH restriction, which includes restrictions on placing MEKO on the market for sale to the general public, keeping a register of works that require contact with MEKO or its mixtures containing MEKO in a concentration ≥0.1%. According to the opinion of MEKO suppliers, there is currently no practical MEKO substitute that has been so well researched, despite attempts to find it in recent years. The risk of additional liver cancer in the case of 40-year occupational exposure to MEKO is 4:100 000 at a concentration of approx. 0.7 mg/m3, and it is an acceptable risk in accordance with the arrangements adopted in Poland. Compliance with the permissible concentrations of MEKO in the air of the working environment at this level should protect employees against the carcinogenic effect of MEKO. Med Pr. 2022;73(6):457–70