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Description of key information

C14-C20 aliphatic, <2% aromatic hydrocarbon fluids are typically metabolized by side chain oxidation to alcohol and carboxylic acid derivatives. These metabolites can be glucuronidated and excreted in the urine or further metabolized before being excreted. The majority of the metabolites are excreted in the urine and to a lower extent, in the feces. Excretion is rapid with the majority of the elimination occurring within the first 24 hours of exposure. As a result of the lack of systemic toxicity and the ability of the parent material to undergo metabolism and rapid excretion, bioaccumulation of the test substance in the tissues is not likely to occur. 

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Bioaccumulation potential:
no bioaccumulation potential

Additional information

C14-C20 aliphatic, <2% aromatic hydrocarbon fluids are absorbed if ingested. C14-C20 aliphatic, <2% aromatic hydrocarbon fluids undergo metabolism and rapid excretion and low deposition, bioaccumulation of the test substance in the tissues is not likely to occur.


The fate of pristane (2, 6, 10, 14-tetramethylpentadecane) was studied in rats after a single per os administration of 3H-labeled pristane. The balance study showed extensive fecal excretion (66%) mainly as unchanged hydrocarbon, whereas about 14% of ingested pristane was excreted in urine as pristane metabolites and tritiated water. After one week, 8.3% of the ingested 3H still was stored in the carcass and the radioactive distribution in tissues and organs showed a preferential incorporation into adipose tissue and liver. Over 75% of the radioactivity stored in the carcass was associated with pristane metabolites and tritiated water. Tissue metabolites were characterized by thin layer chromatography, gas chromatography, and mass spectrometric analyses. Four metabolites were identified: pristan-1-ol, pristane-2-ol, pristanic acid and 4, 8, 12-trimethyltridecanoic acid. These results demonstrated that pristane undergoes subterminal hydroxylation or terminal oxidation followed by the classical beta-oxidation process.


Labeled paraffins with 8-18 C atoms prepared from unsaturated hydrocarbons by addition of deuterium have been added in oily solution to normal rats’ food. After six days an increase of deuterium content in the body fluid of all the rats was observed indicating that the labeled compounds had been metabolized. Deuterium was found in the fatty acids of the body fats and the liver lipids especially after feeding octadecane and hexadecane. Isolating oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids containing deuterium, indicated that methyl- and beta-oxidation of these hydrocarbons has occurred. Fatty acids resulting from the metabolism of hydrocarbons with shorter chains were not deposited but in these cases the urine contained fatty acids with higher deutrium content than after administration of octadecane and hexadecane. According to the deuterium content of the neutral fractions from the liver and body lipids all the hydrocarbons tested were deposited only to a small extent, the largest depots occurring mainly after feeding with octadecane and hexadecane.