Agent Name

Mineral oils, untreated and mildly treated

Major Category

Other Uses


Mineral oil, poorly and mildly refined, excluding metalworking fluids; [ACGIH] Base oils, Mineral base oils; Lubricant base oils; [IARC]


Exposures, Complex


Derived from crude oil and consisting of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons with carbon numbers of 15 or more and boiling points of 300-600 deg C; "In the past, many mineral oils were only mildly refined and contained significant levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHS). . . . In recent decades, acid treatment has largely been replaced by extensive refining with solvent extraction and/or hydro-treatment, which has further reduced the level of PAHs and other contaminants." [Reference #1]


A Group 1 carcinogen: cancer of the skin; Five large case series of mule-spinners with hundreds of cases of scrotal skin cancer were reported from the 1900s through the 1960s. Pressmen working in wax-manufacturing department from 1937-1956 had 11 cases of scrotal cancer. Tool setters and tool fitters working in England from 1936-1976 had excess cases of scrotal cancer. [Reference #1] See "Oil mist, mineral." See "Mineral oil, pure, highly and severely refined."

Reference Link

IARC 2012: Mineral Oils, Untreated or Mildly Treated

Exposure Assessment
Explanatory Notes

Suspected human carcinogen--no TLV-TWA; [ACGIH]

Adverse Effects
IARC Carcinogen

Known Carcinogen

NTP Carcinogen

Human Carcinogen

ACGIH Carcinogen

Suspected Human

Links to Other NLM Databases
Toxicity Information


Related Information in HazMap

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:


Industrial Processes with risk of exposure: