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Overview of the Mammalian and Environmental Toxicity of Chlorinated Paraffins

  • Tamer El-Sayed Ali
  • Juliette LeglerEmail author
Chapter
  • 1.1k Downloads
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 10)

Abstract

Chlorinated paraffins (CPs) are a large and complex group of polychlorinated n-alkanes found ubiquitously in the environment. Recent studies also show the presence of CPs in human samples such as breast milk. Relatively few studies have been performed on the mammalian and environmental toxicity of CPs. Though the acute toxicity of these compounds is generally low, chronic toxicity and sub-lethal effects have been reported, including carcinogenic effects of short-chained CPs (SCCPs). Target organs for toxicity include the liver, kidneys, and the thyroid and parathyroid glands. Toxicity appears to be inversely related to chain length and increases with greater degrees of chlorination. Lowest effect levels (LOEL) reported in rats are 100 mg/kg/day for the SCCPs (C10–13, 58% Cl, 14 day, oral gavage) and 25 mg/kg/day for medium-chained CPs (C14–17, 52% Cl, 90 days, dietary exposure). The most sensitive endpoint for CP mammalian toxicity appears to be developmental toxicity, with a LOEL in rats of 5.7 mg/kg/day. Mammalian risk quotients of merely 2.63 have been reported based on this LOEL, indicating a relatively small margin of safety between exposure and effect concentrations in mammals. Aquatic invertebrates appear to be highly sensitive to CP toxicity (LOEC 1.6 µg/L for mysids, 28 day exposure to SCCPs C10–13, 58% Cl), and there are indications that fish are highly sensitive to CPs following prolonged exposure to low concentrations. In recent years, a number of comprehensive reviews have been written on CP toxicity. This overview provides a synthesis of the existing information on CP toxicity, and argues that, despite the data gaps, it is clear that, especially SSCPs may lead to significant adverse environmental and human health effects.

Keywords

Chlorinated paraffins Toxicity Rodents Fish Invertebrates 

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Environmental StudiesVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Oceanography Department, Faculty of ScienceAlexandria UniversityAlexandriaEgypt

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