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Carcinogenesis. 1981;2(11):1123-7.

Assessment of the carcinogenic N-nitrosodiethanolamine in tobacco products and tobacco smoke.


A simple, reproducible gas chromatography-thermal energy analyzer (g.c.-TEA) method has been developed for the analysis of N-nitrosodiethanolamine (NDELA) in tobacco and tobacco smoke. The extract of tobacco or the trapped particulates of tobacco smoke are chromatographed on silica gel. The NDELA containing fractions are concentrated, silylated and analyzed with a modified g.c.-TEA system. [14C]NDELA serves as internal standard for the quantitative analysis. Experimental cigarettes made from tobaccos which were treated with the sucker growth inhibitor maleic hydrazidediethanolamine (MH-DELA) contained 115--420 p.p.b. of NDELA and their smoke contained 20--290 ng/cigarette, whereas hand-suckered tobacco and its smoke were free of NDELA. The tobacco of US smoking products contained 115--420 p.p.b. of NDELA and the mainstream smoke from such products yielded 10--68 ng/cigar or cigarette. NDELA levels in chewing tobacco ranged from 220--280 p.p.b. and in two commercial snuff products were 3,200 and 6,800 p.p.b. Although the five analyzed MH-DELA preparations contained between 0.6--1.9 p.p.m. NDELA it is evident that the major portion of NDELA in tobacco is formed from the DELA residue during the tobacco processing. Based on bioassay data from various laboratories which have shown that NDELA is a relatively strong carcinogen and based on the results of this study the use of MH-DELA for the cultivation of tobacco is questioned.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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