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Possible substitution of Phthalates as plasticizers in textile products


Phthalates are used as plasticizers in coatings, printing pastes and any flexible plastic materials. There are alternative substances that can be used as plasticiser without having the same critical properties than by using the regularised Phthalates. These alternatives are e.g.
Tributyl O-acetylcitrate (CAS 77-90-7)
Butyryl-n-trihexylcitrate (CAS 82469-79-2)
Sulfonic acids, C10 –C18-alkane, ph esters (CAS 70775-94-9)
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) terephthalate (CAS 6422-86-2)

Substituted substance(s)

  1. Diisononyl phthalate

    CAS No. 28553-12-0 EC No. 249-079-5 Index No. 
  2. Dioctyl phthalate

    CAS No. 117-84-0 EC No.  Index No. 
  3. Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate

    CAS No. 117-81-7 EC No. 204-211-0 Index No. 607-317-00-9
  4. Diisodecyl phthalate

    CAS No. 26761-40-0 / 68515-49-1 EC No.  Index No. 
  5. Benzyl butyl phthalate

    CAS No. 85-68-7 EC No. 201-622-7 Index No. 607-430-00-3
  6. Dibutyl phthalate

    CAS No. 84-74-2 EC No. 201-557-4 Index No. 607-318-00-4
  7. Diisobutyl phthalate

    CAS No. 84-69-5 EC No. 201-553-2 Index No. 607-623-00-2
  8. 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid di-C6-8-branched alkylesters, C7-rich

    CAS No. 71888-89-6 EC No. 276-158-1 Index No. 607-483-00-2
  9. 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid di-C7-11-branched and linear alkylesters

    CAS No. 68515-42-4 EC No. 271-084-6 Index No. 607-480-00-6
  10. Dihexyl phthalate

    CAS No. 84-75-3 EC No. 201-559-5 Index No. 607-702-00-1

Alternative substance(s)

  1. Tributyl O-acetylcitrate

    CAS No. 77-90-7 EC No. 201-067-0 Index No. 
  2. Butyryl-n-trihexylcitrate

    CAS No. 82469-79-2 EC No.  Index No. 
  3. Sulfonic acids, C10-18-alkane, Ph esters

    CAS No. 70775-94-9 EC No.  Index No. 
  4. Bis(2-ethylhexyl) terephthalate

    CAS No. 6422-86-2 EC No. 229-176-9 Index No. 

Other type of alternative

Reliability of information

Evidence of implementation: there is evidence that the solution was implemented and in use at time of publication

Hazard assessment

The substituted phthalates are all on the hazardous Substance Database according to SUBSPORT Screening Criteria (SDSC) and being classified as endocrine disruptors, CMR or carcinogenic substances. None of the mentioned alternatives are on the SDSC.

» Check the Substance Database according to SUBSPORT Screening Criteria (SDSC)

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Substitution description

Several Phthalates are contained in the REACH SVHC list. They are very toxic to aquatic organisms and may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment. Phthalates like DEHP are classified as toxic for reproduction under the CLP regulation (1272/2008), as they may damage fertility and the unborn child.
Hence Phthalates are restricted in EU product legislation (1999/815) as well as in environmental legislation (2000/60/EC).
Phthalates and other plasticisers bearing one of the hazardous effect as described above should be substituted with non-hazardous plasticisers. Hazardous Phthalates already are restricted for Tchibo products per Restricted Substance List (RSL) limit value and tested on a regular basis. A usage ban in production has been included in the Tchibo requirements in 2015.

Tchibo already closely interacts with the suppliers during product development to either exchange the materials (such as PVC) having a high risk for Phthalates use, or to substitute the Phthalates with non-hazardous plasticizers. Any substitution must be tested for the specific applications, before a general assessment of the alternative can be stated. Pilot projects showed that alternative substances caused odour nuisance of the final product. As odour often is equalized with toxicity, the smell of possible alternatives for phthalates in consumer goods must be considered as well.

Yet no harmonized classification for the mentioned alternatives is available in the ECHA CLP inventory, hence more information about the hazardous characteristics must be gained before one or more of the substitutions can be recommended definitely as a safe alternative.

For any chemical substitution the following conditions must be met:
– Significant information on hazardous intrinsic characteristics for the substance is available
– It is ensured and verified that the substitution is nonhazardous
– Application of the alternative formulation in the same process has been tested and the use of substitution can be technically implemented

The company will publish a revised case study after having gained more results about approved methods and alternative chemicals.

More company’s case stories for substitution of hazardous chemicals can be found at

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Case/substitution evaluation

This case story is provided by a user describing alternative plasticizers in textile products. The alternative substances are not included in the SUBSPORT database on hazardous substances according to SUBSPORT Screening Criteria (SDSC).

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Other solutions

Further information

Estimating the abatement costs of hazardous chemicals from ECHA:

Registered substances information from ECHA:                                                                              

C&L Inventory from ECHA:                                                                                                                  

Further languages available

Who provided the information

Type of information supplier


Tchibo GmbH
Überseering 18
22297 Hamburg

Publication source

Type of publication and availability 

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Comments from SUBSPORT users

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Publication or last update: 10.04.2017