2014年9月17日星期三

Evaluation of the male reproductive toxicity of gallium arsenide


Gallium arsenide is an important semiconductor material marketed in the shape of wafers and thus is not hazardous to the end user. Exposure to GaAs particles may, however, occur during manufacture and processing. Potential hazards require evaluation. In 14-week inhalation studies with small GaAs particles, testicular effects have been reported in rats and mice. These effects occurred only in animals whose lungs showed marked inflammation and also had hematologic changes indicating anemia and hemolysis. The time- and concentration-dependent progressive nature of the lung and blood effects together with bioavailability data on gallium and arsenic lead us to conclude that the testicular/sperm effects are secondary to hypoxemia resulting from lung damage rather than due to a direct chemical effect of gallium or arsenide. Conditions leading to such primary effects are not expected to occur in humans at production and processing sites. This has to be taken into consideration for any classification decision for reproductive toxicity; especially a category 1 according to the EU CLP system is not warranted.

Highlights

► Gallium arsenide particles inhaled or instilled cause lung toxicity in rodents. ► As sequelae microcytic anemia and hemolysis are observed. ► Concomitant hypoxemia is the most likely explanation for testicular toxicity. ► Testicular toxicity observed in rodents is therefore not a primary effect. ► Classification for reproductive toxicity should take this into account.

Keywords

  • Gallium arsenide
  • Semiconductor
  • Inhalation
  • Testicular atrophy
  • Hemolysis
  • Alveolar proteinosis
  • Lung inflammation