Trimellitates Group – information sheet
1,2,4-Benzenetricarboxylic acid, tris(2-ethylhexyl) ester
(Tris(2-ethylhexyl) trimellitate (TEHT))
CAS Registry Number 3319-31-1
1,2,4-Benzenetricarboxylic acid, mixed branched tridecyl and isodecyl esters (Branched tridecyl and isodecyl trimellitate (BTIT))
CAS Registry Number 70225-05-7
1,2,4-Benzenetricarboxylic acid, tritridecyl ester
(Tristridecyl trimellitate (TTDT))
CAS Registry Number 94109-09-8
On this page
- The Government of Canada conducted a science-based evaluation, called a screening assessment, of the Trimellitates Group to address the potential for harm to Canadians and to the environment.
- Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), the risk posed by a substance is determined by considering both its hazardous properties (its potential to cause adverse human health or ecological effects) and the amount of exposure there is to people and the environment. A substance may have hazardous properties; however, the risk to human health or to the environment may be low depending upon the level of exposure.
- More information on assessing risk can be found in the Overview of Risk Assessment and related fact sheets, particularly on Types of Risk Assessment Documents and the Risk Assessment Toolbox.
- The ecological hazard and exposure potentials of these substances were classified using the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances Approach.
- The substances in the Trimellitates Group are associated with some health effects; however, the risk to human health is low, and they are considered to have a low potential to cause ecological harm. It is concluded that these substances are not harmful to human health or to the environment at current levels of exposure.
About these substances
- This screening assessment focused on 3 substances, TEHT, BTIT and TTDT, referred to collectively under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) as the Trimellitates Group.
- Two other substances in the Trimellitates Group were determined to be of low concern to both human health and the environment, through other approaches. Conclusions for CAS RNs 53894-23-8 and 68515-60-6 are provided in the Screening Assessment for Substances Identified as Being of Low Concern using the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances and the Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC)-based Approach for Certain Substances.
- TEHT, BTIT and TTDT do not occur naturally in the environment.
- According to information gathered by the Government, TEHT is used as a plasticizer in floor coverings, building or construction materials, plastic and rubber materials and in medical devices. It is also used as a fuel additive, in adhesives and sealants used in the transportation sector, as a lubricant and lubricant additive, and in cosmetics.
- BTIT and TTDT are used in cosmetics in Canada; however, TTDT is also present as a non-medicinal ingredient in non-prescription drugs and natural health products.
- TEHT and BTIT may also be in products used in food processing establishments, but only where there is no direct contact with food.
Human and ecological exposures
- Canadians may be exposed to one or more of the substances from dust and as a result of using certain products available to consumers, such as cosmetics.
- The 3 substances were identified according to information considered under the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances Approach, as having a low ecological exposure potential.
Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- To inform the health effects characterization in this assessment, international reports of data on the trimellitates were reviewed, including an assessment on TEHT by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
- The important or “critical” effects for the characterization of risk to human health for TEHT were effects on the male reproductive system.
- There were limited health effects (hazard) data for BTIT and TTDT, therefore, a comparative approach using similar chemicals, called read-across, was used for assessing potential health effects. Using data available for related substances, including TEHT, effects on the male reproductive system was also identified as the important or "critical" effect for characterizing the risk to human health from BTIT and TTDT exposure.
- According to information considered under the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances Approach the 3 substances were identified as having a low ecological hazard potential.
Risk assessment outcomes
- On the basis of the information presented in the screening assessment, the risk to human health from TEHT, BTIT and TTDT is low.
- Based on the outcome of the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances Approach, these 3 substances are considered unlikely to cause ecological harm.
- The Government of Canada published the Final Screening Assessment for the Trimellitates Group on February 16, 2019.
Screening assessment conclusions
- As a result of this assessment, the Government concluded that TEHT, BTIT and TTDT are not harmful to human health at current levels of exposure.
- The Government also concluded that these 3 substances are not entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment.
- TEHT, BTIT and TTDT may be found in certain products available to consumers. Canadians should follow any safety warnings and directions on product labels and dispose of products responsibly.
- Canadians who may be exposed to these substances in the workplace can consult with their employer and an occupational health and safety (OHS) representative about safe handling practices, applicable laws, and requirements under OHS legislation and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).
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