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Benzyl butyl phthalate

BBP, Phthalic acid-butyl-benzyl ester, Butyl benzyl phthalate

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold
10.0 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air
0.1 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Water
0.1 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Waste Water
This sheet is a generic summary, designed to give the reader a basic level of background information about the substance in question. Great care has been taken to represent as effectively and correctly as possible the broad range of (not necessarily consistent) information which is available from a variety of sources. The reader must accept therefore that this sheet has no legal status and cannot be relied upon in any legal proceedings. SEPA disclaims any responsibility or liability whatsoever for errors and omissions in this sheet.
What is it?
At room temperature, Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) is a clear, oily liquid or solid which has a slight smell. It has a boiling point of 350 degrees celsius and does not evaporate easily. BBP does not dissolve in water, but mixes well with most organic (carbon-containing) solvents.
What is it used for?
BBP is added to plastics, particularly PVC. These plastics used to make a variety of products, such as flooring tiles, car trims and dashboards, artificial leather and conveyer belts. It is also added to some adhesives.
Where does it come from?
Releases of BBP occur from industry producing or using it and from the use and disposal of products containing it. The most significant type of release is from landfills to soils and sometimes water bodies. Only trace amounts of BBP are found in the air. There are not thought to be any natural sources of BBP to the environment.
How might it affect the environment?
In common with other phthalate chemicals, BBP persists for long periods of time in the environment and can be accumulated by some plants and animals exposed to it. There is evidence to suggest that BBP mimics the behaviour of animal hormones, that it is an "endocrine disruptor". It is therefore possible that the presence of BBP in the environment poses a long-term threat to wildlife on both a local and global scale.
How might exposure to it affect human health?
Benzyl butyl phthalate can enter the body either by inhalation of air containing benzyl butyl phthalate, ingestion of contaminated food or water, or by dermal contact with benzyl butyl phthalate or products containing benzyl butyl phthalate. Inhalation of air containing benzyl butyl phthalate may cause irritation of the respiratory tract. Ingestion of benzyl butyl phthalate may result in irritation of the oesophagus. Dermal contact with benzyl butyl phthalate may cause skin irritation. There is little evidence as to the full effects of exposure to benzyl butyl phthalate on human health. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has designated benzyl butyl phthalate as being not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans. However, exposure to benzyl butyl phthalate at normal background levels is unlikely to have any adverse effect on human health.
What steps are being taken to limit the potential impacts?
BBP is listed as a priority substance for risk assessment under EC law (793/93/EEC) and hence is subject to related risk reduction strategies. It is also listed as a priority substance for the EC Water Framework Directive. Internationally, it is listed as a candidate substance for inclusion in the OSPAR Convention which protects the marine environment of the north-east Atlantic Ocean.