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Frequently Asked Questions

What are plasticisers?
   
1.1 What are plasticisers?
 
Plasticisers are substances added to materials such as hard plastics to improve their flexibility and durability. They work by embedding themselves between the chains of polymers, spacing them apart and thus making them softer. Plasticisers are used in numerous industrial and consumer products, primarily in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products and some of them are also used in food contact materials. Phthalates are the most commonly used plasticisers, of which most of them are used in the production of PVC products. Apart from phthalates, other types of plasticisers such as adipates, epoxy esters and citrates, etc. are also in use, to a lesser extent.
   
1.2
What are phthalates?
 

Phthalates are dialkyl or alkyl aryl esters of 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid. Phthalates in pure form are usually clear liquids, some with faint sweet odours and some with faint yellow colour. Plastics that contain phthalates are commonly used in applications that include building materials, clothing, cosmetics, perfumes, food packaging, toys, and vinyl products (e.g., flooring, shower curtains, and rain coats); and in medical applications that include blood transfusion bags and tubing, intravenous fluid bags and tubing, and other medical devices. Phthalates are also found in lubricating oils, solvents, and detergents.

   
1.3
What is DEHP?
 

DEHP is an abbreviation for di(2- ethylhexyl) phthalate which is a type of phthalate plasticisers widely used in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products. PVC plastic may contain from 1 to 40% DEHP by weight and are used in consumer products such as imitation leather, rainwear, footwear, upholstery, flooring, wire and cable, tablecloths, shower curtains, food packaging materials, medical devices and children’s toys.

   
1.4
What is the toxicity of DEHP?
 

The acute oral toxicity of DEHP is low. Large doses of DEHP were found to affect the liver and kidney as well as the reproduction and development of experimental animals. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified DEHP as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B). There is inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in humans but there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.

   
1.5

What is DINP ?

 

DINP is an abbreviation for di-isononyl phthalate which is not a pure substance but a mixture. DINP is also a type of phthalate plasticisers. It is mainly used in PVC products.

   
1.6

What is the toxicity of DINP?

 
The toxicity of DINP is lower than DEHP. DINP is of low acute toxicity. DINP was found to affect the liver and kidney as well as the development of experimental animals. No relevant human data on the carcinogenicity of DINP are available. The carcinogenic effects of DINP were observed in the rodent species in some studies.
   
1.7

What is DBP?

 
DBP is an abbreviation of di-butyl phthalate, which is a type of phthalate plasticiers widely used in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products. DBP can be used in food packaging materials. It is also found in a wide range of products, for example, carpet backing, paints, glue, insect repellents, hair spray, nail polish, and rocket fuel.
   
1.8

What is the toxicity of DBP?

 
The acute oral toxicity of DBP is low. Chronic large-dose exposure to DBP was found to affect the reproduction and development of and cause birth defect in experimental animals. No relevant human data on the carcinogenicity of DBP are available.
   
1.9

What is DIDP ?

 
DIDP is an abbreviation for di-isodecyl phthalate which is not a pure substance but a mixture. DIDP is a type of phthalate plasticisers. It is mainly used in PVC products.
   
1.10

What is the toxicity of DIDP?

 
DIDP is of low acute toxicity. DIDP was found to affect the liver and kidney as well as the reproduction and development of experimental animals. No relevant human data on the carcinogenicity of DIDP are available.
   
1.11

How are we exposed to phthalate plasticisers in daily life?

 
Phthalate plasticisers may be present in food, either due to migration from food contact materials or due to its widespread presence as an environmental contaminant which can be found in air, water, soil and food. According to World Health Organization we can be exposed to DEHP through air, water, and environment and the exposure among individuals may vary considerably because of the wide variety of products into which DEHP is incorporated.
   
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Last Revision Date : 13-04-2012