The purpose of this review is to consider whether epoxides represent a hazard to human health. Possible means of occupational and non-occupational exposure are discussed with reference to the production and uses of industrially important compounds and other epoxides, such as naturally occurring plant and fungal products. In addition to epoxides themselves, unsaturated compounds that may be metabolised in vivo to epoxides are included, since this appears to be a further important means of exposure. The toxicology, in particular carcinogenicity and mutagenicity, is discussed, along with a brief outline of the biochemistry such as metabolism, binding to cell constituents, and DNA repair mechanisms. The question of interactions between different epoxides in vivo is also raised.
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