Inhalation toxicology

Palladium alters cigarette smoke toxicological profile, but accumulates in the lungs of rats during inhalation exposure.

PMID 18236231


The use of a palladium (Pd) catalyst has been proposed to promote combustion of tobacco, thereby reducing concentrations of certain toxic components of smoke, including polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In the present work, toxicological comparisons were made using experimental cigarettes containing no added Pd, against otherwise similar cigarettes containing three different amounts of Pd as potassium tetrachloropalladate added to the tobacco. A full analysis of smoke chemistry was made, along with a subchronic 90-day inhalation study with mainstream smoke (rats exposed to 150 mg/m(3) of total particulate matter, 6 h/day for 90 consecutive days) and in vitro evaluations of Salmonella mutagenicity, cytotoxicity, and in vivo clastogenicity (micronucleus). Addition of Pd to the tobacco resulted in 20-30% reductions in the concentrations of 6 PAHs and 2 aromatic amines, but it also resulted in transfer of Pd to smoke and in 10-50% increases in concentrations of several tobacco-specific nitrosamines. Mutagenicity was reduced by about 50% in 2 of 5 strains of Salmonella (with S9 only), while the cytotoxicity and micronucleus assays showed no changes. Histopathology responses were similar across the four smoke inhalation groups. Smoke Cd was reduced by 40-70% in the smoke, leading to lower lung concentrations; however, the presence of Pd in smoke led to accumulation of Pd in the lungs increasing in both a dose-and an exposure-related manner. While catalysts such as Pd addition may alter the typical chemical/toxicological profile of smoke, a concern arises regarding the "risk-benefit" of the addition of such chemically active materials as Pd to cigarette tobacco, leading to potential pulmonary accumulation with unknown consequences.