Chloffin project

Eurostars project

About the project

  • Reference Number: E113388
  • Project Acronym: CHLOFFIN
  • Project Title: Development of reference standards for the analysis of chlorinated paraffins (CPs)
  • Time to Completion: 36 months (October 2019-November 2022)
  • Technical Area: Chemistry, Physical and Exact Sciences > Chemistry > Analytical Chemistry

Project Overview

Chlorinated paraffins (CPs) are a class of industrial chemicals used as high-temperature lubricants in metal-working machinery and as flame retardant plasticizers in vinyl plastics. Less common applications include the use as flame retardants in rubber, paints, adhesives and as sealants. The total global production remains largely unknown, but is believed to exceed at least two million metric tonnes per year. CPs show resistance to degradation, and some show bioaccumulation and toxic potential. They are suspected to be carcinogenic to humans according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Short-chain CPs have been prohibited by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the EU since 2017 (Regulation (EC)850/2004) and placed on several monitoring lists such as the EU Water Framework Directive. However, due to their persistence, CPs will be in the environment for decades.

One of the (many) challenges researchers face when determining CPs in environmental matrices is the lack of suitable and generally accepted standards and matrix reference materials. Current commercially available individual standards (native and labelled) have a chlorine pattern that is different than those found in technical mixtures and the environment. CP mixtures used for quantification are not well-characterised nor purity assessed, and this results in semi-quantitative and data that is not traceable. Certified matrix reference materials (CRMs) are needed to validate a method. Considering the high volume of CP production and their recognised impact on the environment and human health, the urgent need for standards and CRMs for method validation and accurate analysis is clear.

In this project, we aim to produce around 40 individual standards of CPs, 8 labelled individual CPs, 10 congener mixtures that are well-characterised and purity assessed and one matrix CRM. The resultant standards will have defined composition and response factors, which are similar to the industrial mixtures. These standards are intended for quantification of CPs as well as helping distinguish the various congener groups according to carbon chain length and chlorine content.

The CHLOFFIN project is divided into 6 distinct work packages. The above PERT diagram shows the work flow and interdependencies of the various work packages.


What are they?

Chlorinated paraffins (CP) are complex mixtures of polychlorinated n-alkanes (PCA)

They are produced as complex mixtures of thousands of isomers of different carbon chain length and chlorination degree.

CPs are subdivided according to their carbon chain length:

  • Short chain CPs (SCCPs, C10–13)
  • Medium chain CPs (MCCPs, C14–17)
  • Long chain CPs (LCCPs, C>17)
  • Very long chain CPs (vLCCPs, >C21)

Degree of chlorination CPs can vary between 30 and 70 wt%

  • SCCP


  • MCCP


  • LCCP



  • Extreme pressure additives in metal working fluids
  • Flame retardants in rubbers
  • Plasticisers/flame retardants in paints and coatings
  • Sealants/adhesives
  • Fat liquoring agents in leather processing
  • Flame retardants in textiles

Why are they important?

  • Emerging environmental concern
  • High volume of production (>2 million tonnes per yr)
  • Long-range transport
  • Persistence in the environment
  • Bio-accumulation
  • Toxicity (Carcinogenic)

Current challenges

  • No suitable and generally accepted reference standards are commercially available yet.
  • Currently available standards differ significantly in chain length and Cl distribution from those seen in technical mixes and the environment.
  • CP mixtures used today for quantification are not well characterised nor purity assessed.
  • Only semi-quantitative (sum of SCCP, MCCP and LCCP)
  • Lack of matrix reference materials

new standards for the analysis of chlorinated paraffins

Contact us

Chiron - Chloffin project

Chiron AS | Stiklestadveien 1 | 7041 Trondheim (Norway)

+47.73874490  |  |

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