Dioctyl phthalate

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Available Options

Application of DOP (DEHP)

  • Due to its suitable properties and the low cost, DEHP is widely used as a plasticizer in manufacturing of articles made of PVC. Plastics may contain 1% to 40% of DEHP. It is also used as a hydraulic fluid and as a dielectricfluid in capacitors. DEHP also finds use as a solvent in glowsticks.
  • Approximately three billion kilograms are produced annually worldwide.[4] It is estimated that at least 241 million pounds of DEHP were produced in the US in 1999.
  • Industrial production entails the reaction of phthalic anhydride with 2-ethylhexanol:
C6H4(CO)2O + 2 C8H17OH → C6H4(CO2 C8H17)2 + H2O
  • 2-Ethylhexanol is chiral, and the resultant DEHP consists of a mixture of (R,R)-, (S,S)-, and (R,S)-isomers (left).
  •  PVC is used extensively in sewage pipe due to its low cost, chemical resistance, and ease of jointing. Phthalate plasticizers are essential to the utility of PVC, which is otherwise too brittle.
  • Manufacturers of flexible PVC articles can choose among several alternative plasticizers offering similar technical properties as DEHP. These alternatives include other phthalates such as diisononyl phthalate (DINP), di-2-propyl heptyl phthalate (DPHP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP), and non-phthalates such as 1,2-cyclohexane dicarboxylic acid diisononyl ester (DINCH), dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP), and citrate esters.
  • DEHP is the most common phthalate plasticizer in medical devices such as intravenous tubing and bags, IV catheters, nasogastric tubes, dialysis bags and tubing, blood bags and transfusion tubing, and air tubes. DEHP makes these plastics softer and more flexible and was first introduced in the 1940s in blood bags. For this reason, concern has been expressed about leachates of DEHP transported into the patient, especially for those requiring extensive infusions or those who are at the highest risk of developmental abnormalities, e.g. newborns in intensive care nursery settings, hemophiliacskidney dialysis patients, neonates, premature babies, lactating, and pregnant women. According to the European Commission Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER), exposure to DEHP may exceed the tolerable daily intake in some specific population groups, namely people exposed through medical procedures such as kidney dialysis.[10] The American Academy of Pediatrics has advocated not to use medical devices that can leach DEHP into patients and, instead, to resort to DEHP-free alternatives.[11] In July 2002, the U.S. FDA issued a Public Health Notification on DEHP, stating in part, "We recommend considering such alternatives when these high-risk procedures are to be performed on male neonates, pregnant women who are carrying male fetuses, and peripubertal males" noting that the alternatives were to look for non-DEHP exposure solutions;[12] they mention a database of alternatives.[13] The CBC documentary The Disappearing Maleraised concerns about sexual development in male fetal development, miscarriage), and as a cause of dramatically lower sperm counts in men.[14] A review article in 2010 in the Journal of Transfusion Medicine showed a consensus that the benefits of a lifesaving treatments with these devices far outweigh the risks of DEHP leaching out of these devices. Although more research is needed to develop alternatives to DEHP that gives the same benefits of being soft and flexible which are required for most medical procedures. If a procedure requires one of these devices and if patient is at high risk to suffer from DEHP then a DEHP alternative should be considered if medically safe.