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Environmental fate & pathways

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Tributyl phosphate’s (TBP) production and use as an extraction agent for rare earths, uranium, plutonium, metal ions, fire retardant, platicizer, solvent and hydraulic fluid may results in it’s release to the environment through various waste systems. However based on the studies available TBP does not present a problem to the environment:

Tributyl phosphate is considered to be readily biodegradable.

The bioaccumulation of tributylphosphate was investigated in a continuous exposure system in Killifish (Sasaki et al, 1982). The test substance was taken up rapidly into the fish, reaching steady state within 24 hours. Levels remain constant for the remainder of the study. BCF values were calculated to be 21 -35. Following removal from the test water, elimination was rapid with a BH value of 1.25 hours. Levels were below the lod at 24 hours.

The bioaccumulation of the substance from water was investigated in carp over a period of 6 -8 weeks (CITI, 1992). BCF values for fish of 6.9 -20 were calculated for the substance at a concentration of 6 ug/L in water; BCF values of 5.5 -10 were calculated for a concentration in water of 60 ug/L.

A study was conducted to measure the effects of soil of the dunes on the removal and modification of organic compounds (including Tributyl phosphate) present in water of the river Rhine during dune-infiltration as a treatment step in drinking water production. This was performed to indicate potentially harmful compounds that occur regularly in water of the river Rhine and in spite of soil passage may occur in drinking water derived from that source. 0.1 µg/L of Tributylphosphate was found in the infiltrating water detected after infiltration at Well 8 in North Holland.