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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Review of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) epidemiology and toxicology.

The scientific evidence in humans and animals relevant to cancer risks, neurologic disease, reproductive risks, and immunotoxicity of 2,4-D was reviewed. Despite several thorough in vitro and in vivo animal studies, no experimental evidence exists supporting the theory that 2,4-D or any of its salts and esters damages DNA under physiologic conditions. Studies in rodents demonstrate a lack of oncogenic or carcinogenic effects following a lifetime dietary administration of 2,4-D. Epidemiologic studies provide scant evidence that exposure to 2,4-D is associated with soft tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, or any other cancer. Overall, the available evidence from epidemiologic studies is not adequate to conclude that any form of cancer is causally associated with 2,4-D exposure. There is no human evidence of adverse reproductive outcomes related to 2,4-D. The available data from animal studies of acute, subchronic, and chronic exposure to 2,4-D, its salts, and esters show an unequivocal lack of systemic toxicity at doses that do not exceed renal clearance mechanisms. There is no evidence that 2,4-D in any of its forms activates or transforms the immune system in animals at any dose. At high doses, 2,4-D damages the liver and kidney and irritates mucous membranes. Although myotonia and alterations in gait and behavioral indices are observed after overwhelming doses of 2,4-D, alterations in the neurologic system of experimental animals are not observed with the administration of doses in the microgram/kg/day range. It is unlikely that 2,4-D has any neurotoxic potential at doses below those required to induce systemic toxicity.[1]


  1. Review of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) epidemiology and toxicology. Garabrant, D.H., Philbert, M.A. Crit. Rev. Toxicol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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