Tris(4-chlorophenyl)methanol (TCPM) and tris(4-chlorophenyl)methane (TCPMe) are globally widespread contaminants. However, there is a lack of knowledge on production figures, origin, and application of these compounds. One source is technical DDT in which these compounds are present as impurities, but it is assumed that there are other sources as well. Analytical methods for the determination of TCPM and TCPMe comprise extraction, cleanup over florisil columns or by gel permeation chromatography, and gas chromatographic analysis with electron capture or mass spectrometric detection. TCPM and TCPMe have been found in fish, birds, and marine mammals from various parts of the world. TCPM concentrations in marine mammals from the North Sea are around 1-2 mg/kg on a lipid weight basis. TCPM and TCPMe are highly bioaccumulative and a 10-100-fold biomagnification from fish to marine mammals is suggested. There is little information on their toxicity. TCPM is a phenobarbital and a 3-methylcholanthrene inducer producing hepatic effects, splenomegaly, and increased white blood cell and lymphocyte counts in rats after short-term dietary exposure. There are indications of a possible carcinogenic character.
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