PRIO – A tool for Risk Reduction of Chemicals

Chloroparaffins

Chloroparaffins are hydrocarbons with a straight carbon chain which consist of 10 to 30 carbon atoms and where 40-70 % of the hydrogen atoms are exchanged for chlorine atoms.

Chloroparaffins are divided into short-, medium- and long-chain, depending on the length of the carbon chain, short-chain having 10 to 13 carbon atoms, medium-chain 14 to 17 carbon atoms and long-chain more than 17 carbon atoms.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency has drawn up substance information and flow analyses for chloroparaffins.

Chloroparaffins are used, for instance, in coolants and lubricants in the metalworking industry and as additives in jointing compounds, paints, plastics and rubber. They may fulfil the function of plasticiser and flame retardant, see brief statistics on chloroparaffins.

Chloroparaffins are stable, persistent compounds that bioaccumulate in the environment. Short- and medium-chain paraffins are very toxic to aquatic organisms and may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment. Here you can search in the Classification list.

Short-chain chloroparaffins have been restricted in the EU through Directive 2002/45/EC which contains prohibitions on use in metalworking and leather oils. A review of the risk assessment of short-chain chloroparaffins is in progress and will lead to new restrictions on use. Risk assessment of medium-chain chloroparaffins is in progress under the EU's Existing Substances programme, and a decision has been taken to draw up a risk-management strategy. The long-chain chloroparaffins are also being assessed for risk, but outside the Existing Substances Programme.

Further information:

Chlorinated paraffins in Swedish breast milk, PM 18/12, Swedish Chemicals Agency, 2012

European Union Risk Assessment Report, Alkanes, C10-13, Chloro, Risk Assessment. European Communities, 2000.