Assessment of Health Effects of Exogenous Urea: Summary and Key Findings

Aisha S. Dickerson, Janice S. Lee, Channa Keshava, Andrew Hotchkiss, Amanda S. Persad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Urea has been utilized as a reductant in diesel fuels to lower emission of nitrogen oxides, igniting interest in probable human health hazards associated with exposure to exogenous urea. Here, we summarize and update key findings on potential health effects of exogenous urea, including carcinogenicity. Recent Findings: No definitive target organs for oral exposure were identified; however, results in animal studies suggest that the liver and kidney could be potential target organs of urea toxicity. The available human-subject literature suggests that the impact on lung function is minimal. Based on the literature on exogenous urea, we concluded that there was inadequate information to assess the carcinogenic potential of urea, or perform a quantitative assessment to derive reference values. Summary: Given the limited information on exogenous urea, additional research to address gaps for exogenous urea should include long-term cancer bioassays, two-generation reproductive toxicity studies, and mode-of-action investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-212
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent environmental health reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer assessment
  • Health effects
  • Human health assessment
  • IRIS
  • Integrated Risk Information System
  • Urea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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