TOTM on Corap: Where does it stand now?

TOTM/TEHTM (Trioctyl trimellitate, or tris(2-ethylhexyl)trimellitate) is a non-migrating plasticizer with excellent elevated temperature properties. In every application where migration is a concern, TOTM can limit these concerns due to its permanent character. Most commonly applied areas are medical devices, cables and wires. TOTM is also beloved for automotive and in-house applications due to its outstanding fogging and non-VOC properties.

TOTM was first added to the Corap list in 2012 under the REACH substance evaluation program. The purpose is to evaluate TOTM against defined criteria of PBT – Persistence, Bioaccumulation and Toxicology. OXEA is an active member of the consortium that plans and executes the process in response to relevant requests by REACH, and here is a status update on where TOTM stands:

  • Persistence:
    • The available studies have shown no indication of bio-degradation in water. The substance has a very low water solubility and its behavior in soil or sediment would be more relevant with respect to persistence.
    • Next step: Examiners are therefore looking at signs of persistence in sediment (OECD 308). However, current measures in sediment presented technical problems and new solutions need to be found.
  • Bioaccumulation:
    • A study on freshwater fish ((Bioaccumulation: Test for the Degree of Bioconcentration in Fish) demonstrated a very low potential of bioaccumulation. There still exist conflicting indications from simulation models that TOTM may be bioaccumulative.
    • Next step: Further analysis may be required, depending on the outcome of the sediment simulation.
  • Toxicology:
    • No adverse effect was observed in mammalian or aquatic species.
    • Toxicological concerns are out of the running.

It can be clearly concluded, that TOTM does not meet PBT criteria, but in order to come to a conclusion on vPvB-criteria, better data on persistence and potentially bioaccumulation in non-aqueous environmental compartments are required.

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