Profile for the Phthalate substance grouping


Help on accessing alternative formats, such as Portable Document Format (PDF), Microsoft Word and PowerPoint (PPT) files, can be obtained in the alternate format help section.

This document describes the considerations for development of a grouping of substances for assessment under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), and the rationale for considering them to be a priority. The composition of the grouping may change with additional information gathering. More information on categorization results for these substances is available.

Grouping Description

  • This grouping consists of diesters of 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid, also known as ortho-phthalates.
  • Fourteen substances are included in this grouping and are identified in the list of Substances included in the Phthalate Substance Grouping. The scope of this grouping may be expanded to inform a cumulative assessment approach if warranted.
  • Within the phthalates group assessment, there are 3 potential sub-groups based on structure-activity (observed differences in developmental toxicity):
    • Low molecular weight (MW) (R-alkyl backbone of 3 or less carbon atoms (=C3).
    • Intermediate MW [R-alkyl backbone of 4 to 6 carbon atoms (C4 to C6)].
    • High MW (R-alkyl backbone of 7 or more carbon atoms (=C7), or a benzyl group).
  • From an ecological perspective, the initial approach may be to view the substances as a single broad group, with subgroups based on properties such as P, B, octanol-water partitioning coefficient (log Kow), emerging early on in the assessment process.

Selection Considerations

  • Potential health effects of concern. Some phthalates have been identified as potentially associated with reproductive and developmental effectsFootnote 1.
  • Potential ecological effects of concern for some phthalatesFootnote 2.
  • Potential exposure of consumers and children. A survey conducted for phase 1 of the Domestic Substances List (DSL) Inventory Update identified that a subset of phthalates have a wide range of consumer applications including: adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, plastic and rubber materials, and automotive parts, which could result in exposure to humans, including children.
  • Potential to leverage/align with international activity. Phthalates have been identified both domestically and internationally as priorities for assessment. For example:
    • In 2008, the United States National Research Council published a key document, Phthalates and Cumulative Risk Assessment: The Tasks Ahead, making the case for cumulative assessmentFootnote 3.
    • In 2009, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) released an Action Plan for phthalates which includes conducting an assessment of phthalates under the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program. The Phthalates Action Plan was revised in 2012.
    • United States Consumer Product Safety Commission Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel will conduct a cumulative hazard assessment of phthalatesFootnote 4.
  • Potential risk assessment and risk management efficiencies and effectiveness.
    • Assessing as a group allows for consideration of aggregate exposure and cumulative risk, where warranted, and may inform potential substitution and to avoid repeated product formulation changes over time.

Potential Sectoral Involvement Identified through Phase 1 of the DSL Inventory Update

Note that the list of potential uses or sectors involved may not be comprehensive if not all substances included in the grouping were included in Phase 1 of the DSL Inventory Update survey. The use and/or sectors listed may not apply to all substances included in the grouping.

  • Plastic and rubber manufacturers
  • Automotive manufacturing
  • Chemical (except agricultural) wholesaler distributors
  • Adhesive and sealants manufacturers
  • Petroleum and Coal Product Manufacturing
Substances included in the Phthalate Substance Grouping
CAS RN Substance Name Substance Category Acronym Proposed Sub-Group
84-61-7 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, dicyclohexyl ester Organics DCHP Intermediate Molecular Weight (MW)
84-64-0 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, butyl cyclohexyl ester Organics BCHP Intermediate MW
84-69-5 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis(2-methylpropyl) ester Organics DIBP Intermediate MW
131-11-3 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, dimethyl ester Organics DMP Low MW
523-31-9 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis(phenylmethyl) ester Organics DBenzP High MW
3648-20-2 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, diundecyl ester Organics DUP High MW
5334-09-8 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, cyclohexyl 2-methylpropyl ester Organics CHIBP Intermediate MW
16883-83-3 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, 2,2-dimethyl-1-(1-methylethyl)-3-(2-methyl-1-oxopropoxy)propyl phenylmethyl ester Organics B84P Intermediate MW
26761-40-0 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, diisodecyl ester Organics DIDP High MW
27215-22-1 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, isooctyl phenylmethyl ester Organics BIOP High MW
27987-25-3 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis(methylcyclohexyl) ester Organics DMCHP Intermediate MW
28553-12-0 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, diisononyl ester Organics DINP High MW
68515-40-2 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, benzyl C7-9-branched and linear alkyl esters UVCBs-organic B79P High MW
71888-89-6 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, di-C6-8-branched alkyl esters, C7-rich UVCBs-organic DIHepP Intermediate MW


Footnote 1

European Commission. 2011.   ESIS: European chemical substances information system

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

United States Environmental Protection Agency [USEPA] 2012.   Phthalates Action Plan.

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

National Research Council of the National Academies. 2008. Phthalates and cumulative risk assessment: The tasks ahead. Committee on the Health Risks of Phthalates, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, Division on Earth and Life Studies. Washington (DC): The National Academies Press. 208pp.

Return to footnote 3 referrer

Footnote 4

US Consumer Product Safety Commission. 2011.   Phthalates chronic hazard advisory panel.

Return to footnote 4 referrer

Page details

Date modified: