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Glossary - Triethanolamine

Triethanolamine, which is often abbreviated as TEA, is an organic chemical compound which is both a tertiary amine and a triol (a molecule with three alcohol groups).  Like other amines, triethanolamine is a strong base due to the lone pair of electrons on the nitrogen atom.

Triethanolamine can also be abbreviated as TEOA, which can help to distinguish it from triethylamine. Allergic reactions

A 1996 study found that Triethanolamine occasionally causes contact allergy:

  • a 2001 study found TEA in a sunscreen caused an allergic contact dermatitis
  • a 2007 study found TEA in ear drops caused a contact allergy
  • in a 2008 study in Wistar rats, systemic and respiratory tract (RT) toxicity was analyzed for 28 days in a nose specific inhalation; TEA seems to be less potent in regard to systemic toxicity and RT irritancy than diethanolamine (DEA) -- exposure to TEA resulted in focal inflammation, starting in single male animals from 20mg/m3 concentrations
  • a 2009 study stated patch test reactions reveal a slight irritant potential instead of a true allergic response in several cases and also indicated the risk of skin sensitization to TEA seems to be very low

 

Tumors

Reports indicated that TEA causes an increased incidence of tumour growth in the liver in female B6C3F1 mice, but not in male mice or in Fischer 344 rats, and a 2004 study concluded "TEA may cause liver tumours in mice via a choline-depletion mode of action and that this effect is likely caused by the inhibition of choline uptake by cells."

 

Environmental toxicity

A 2009 study found that TEA has potential acute, sub-chronic and chronic toxicity properties in respect to aquatic species.

   
 

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