IJT - CIR - February 2024 - 96S

CIR Supplement Manuscript
Safety Assessment of Trialkyl Trimellitates as
Used in Cosmetics
Monice M. Fiume*, Wilma F. Bergfeld**, Donald V. Belsito**,
Ronald A. Hill***, Curtis D. Klaassen**, Daniel C. Liebler***,
James G. Marks Jr***, Ronald C. Shank***, Thomas J. Slaga**,
Paul W. Snyder**, Lillian J. Gill****, and Bart Heldreth†
Abstract
The Expert Panel for Cosmetic Ingredient Safety (Panel) assessed the safety of 5 trialkyl trimellitates. These ingredients, which
are all structurally related as alkyl esters of trimellitic acid, are reported to function in cosmetics as skin conditioning agents; 2 of
the ingredients are also reported to function in cosmetics as plasticizers. The Panel reviewed the available data to determine the
safety of these ingredients, and concluded that the trialkyl trimellitates are safe in the current practices of use and concentration
when formulated to be non-irritating.
Keywords
Safety, Cosmetics, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Tricaprylyl/Capryl Trimellitate, Triethylhexyl Trimellitate, Triisodecyl Trimellitate,
Triisotridecyl Trimellitate
Introduction
This is a safety assessment of the following 5 trialkyl trimellitates
as used in cosmetic formulations:
Tridecyl Trimellitate
Tricaprylyl/Capryl Trimellitate
Triethylhexyl Trimellitate
Triisodecyl Trimellitate
Triisotridecyl Trimellitate
As given in the web-based International Cosmetic Ingredient
Dictionary and Handbook (wINCI; Dictionary),
these ingredients are reported to function in cosmetics as skin
conditioning agents (Table 1).1 Tricaprylyl/capryl trimellitate
and triethylhexyl trimellitate are also reported to function in
cosmetics as plasticizers.
These trialkyl trimellitates form a family of cosmetic ingredients
because they are all structurally related as alkyl
esters of the aromatic triprotic acid, trimellitic acid. The only
structural difference between these ingredients is the length/
branching ofthe alkyl chains. Additionally, since arylesterases
are known to be present in the skin, initial metabolic products
of this family are also likely to be structurally related as (1)
simple alkyl alcohols, (2) mono-esters of trimellitic acid, (3)
di-esters oftrimellitic acid, and (4) trimellitic acid. Indeed, the
likely breakdown ofthese ingredients was demonstrated in an
oral study in rats that examined the metabolic fate of triethylhexyl
trimellitate; the products were the simple alcohol 2ethylhexanol,
the mono-ester ethylhexyl trimellitate, and the
di-ester diethylhexyl trimellitate.2
Trialkyl trimellitates can be metabolized via hydrolysis
back to the parent alcohol and acid, and therefore the parent
alcohol and acid could be present as residual materials.
Therefore, brief summaries of data on trimellitic acid, trimellitic
anhydride (although this reactive starting material is
unlikely to survive in the product),3 and the alcohols4-8 are
provided (Table 2). This information is not intended to be
exhaustive, but is included for support in reviewing the safety
of the trialkyl trimellitates.
Limited published data were available for tridecyl trimellitate.
However, according to Australia's National Industrial
Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme
*Cosmetic Ingredient Review Senior Director
**Expert Panel for Cosmetic Ingredient Safety Member
***Expert Panel for Cosmetic Ingredient Safety Former Member
****Cosmetic Ingredient Review Former Director
†Cosmetic Ingredient Review Executive Director
Corresponding Author:
Bart Heldreth, Executive Director, Cosmetic Ingredient Review, 1620 L
Street, NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20036, USA.
Email: cirinfo@cir-safety.org
International Journal of Toxicology
2024, Vol. 43(Supplement 1) 96S-120S
© The Author(s) 2023
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DOI: 10.1177/10915818231224248
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IJT - CIR - February 2024

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IJT - CIR - February 2024 - Cover1
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IJT - CIR - February 2024 - 93S
IJT - CIR - February 2024 - 94S
IJT - CIR - February 2024 - 95S
IJT - CIR - February 2024 - 96S
IJT - CIR - February 2024 - 97S
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IJT - CIR - February 2024 - Cover3
IJT - CIR - February 2024 - Cover4
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