International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - Summaries & Evaluations
VOL.: 31 (1983) (p. 79)
CAS No.: 9000-07-1
5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation
5.1 Experimental data
Native (undegraded) carrageenan was tested for carcinogenicity in
rats and hamsters by administration in the diet; no evidence of
carcinogenicity was found. In female rats treated with azoxymethane
or N-nitrosomethylurea together with native carrageenan in the diet, a
greater incidence of colorectal cancers was observed than with
treatment by azoxymethane or N-nitrosomethylurea alone. Degraded
carrageenan was tested in rats by administration in the diet, in the
drinking-water and by oral intubation, in four experiments;
colorectal cancers were induced in each study.
Native carrageenan has not been tested in short-term assays.
Degraded carrageenan was not mutagenic in bacteria or in mammalian
cells in vitro. The data were inadequate to evaluate the activity of
degraded carrageenan in short-term tests.
Native or degraded carrageenan had no reproductive or teratogenic
effect in rats or hamsters.
5.2 Human data
Carrageenan-containing seeweeds have been used since at least two
hundred years, and isolated carrageenan has been used as a food
additive since 1937. Carrageenan is used in the manufacture of food,
drug and cosmetic products and in multiple industrial applications,
resulting in wide human exposure.
No data were available to assess the teratogenicity or
chromosomal effects of this compound in humans.
No case report or epidemiological study on the carcinogenicity of
native or degraded carrageenan was available to the Working Group.
The available data do not provide evidence that native
(undegraded) carrageenan is carcinogenic to experimental animals. In
the absence of epidemiological data, no evaluation of the
carcinogenicity of native carrageenan to humans could be made.
Experiments in rats with doses of degraded carrageenan comparable
to those used to test native carrageenan provide sufficient evidence
for the carcinogenicity of degraded carrageenan in rats. No data on
humans were available.
For definition of the italicized terms, see Preamble Evaluation.
Previous evaluation: Vol. 10 (1976)
Subsequent evaluation: Suppl. 7 (1987) (p. 59: Carrageenan, native - Group 3; Carrageenan, degraded - Group 2B)
- Aubygel GS, LGA, MR5O, TRS, X52, X100 & X120
- Aubygum DM
- Burtonite V-40-E
- Carastay C, E, K, M, S, & X; Colloid 775
- k, l and i-Carrageenan
- Carrageenan gum
- Chondrus extract
- Eucheuma spinosum gum
- Flanogen ELA, RS1; RS2, 531 & 553
- Gelcarin HMR, LA, SI
- Gelogen 2, 4, 8, P10, 28, 406 & 440
- Genugel CJ, CMJ-2, CMJ-343, CWG, CWG-122, KWG, LC-1, LC-4,MGW, PWG, UE & WG
- Genugol RLV
- Genulacta CL-126, CP-100, K-100, L-100, MDS, P-100 & PL-93
- Genuvisco J
- Gum carrageenan
- Gum chon 2
- Gum chond
- Irish gum
- Irish moss extract
- Lygomme CDS, DP, GB3, LA60, 34, 35 & 267/3
- Pellugel ID
- Satiagel GS350, HV, HVX, K40 & K80
- Satiagum 3
- Satiagum standard
- Seakem Carrageenin
- Seakem 3 & LCM
- Seaspen PF
- Sulphate ester of a polysaccharide of galactose
- Viscarin 402 & TP-4
Last updated: 16 April 1998