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Phthalate Di-butyl phthalate

2. How is DBP used?

    The source document for this Digest states:


    In 1998 the production volume of dibutyl phthalate (hereafter referred to as DBP) in the EU was estimated at 26,000 tonnes, of which 8,000 tonnes was thought to be exported outside the EU. This leads to a use volume of about 18,000 t/a. There is no import of DBP from outside the EU. There is a clear decreasing trend in the production of DBP: 49,000 t/a (1994) – 37,000 t/a (1997) – 26,000 t/a (1998). The production (>1,000 tonnes) of DBP in 1998 was located at three production sites in the EU.

    DBP is produced by the reaction of phthalic anhydride with n-butanol in the presence of concentrated sulphuric acid as a catalyst. Excess alcohol is recovered and recycled and the di-n-butyl phthalate is purified by vacuum distillation and/or activated charcoal.


    The largest usage of DBP in general is as a plasticizers in resins and polymers such as polyvinyl chloride. Plasticizers are materials incorporated into a plastic in order to increase its workability and distendability. DBP is further used in printing inks, adhesives, sealants/grouting agents, nitrocellulose paints, film coatings and glass fibres. The ubiquity of DBP in consumer products is demonstrated by its wide usage in cosmetics: a perfume solvent and fixative, a suspension agent for solids in aerosols, a lubricant for aerosol valves, an antifoamer, a skin emollient and a plasticizer in nail polish and fingernail elongators.

    Based on 1997 data, on average around 76% of DBP is used as a plasticizer in polymers, 14% in adhesives, 7% in printing inks and the remaining 3% of DBP is used in miscellaneous other applications.

    Source & ©:  "2003 Risk Assessment Report (RAR 003) on Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Summary of the Report, chapter 2: General Information on Exposure

    For more information, see the full ECB Risk Assessment Report:
     Chapter 2: General Information on Exposure

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