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Description of key information

Dipotassium hexachloroplatinate is likely to be poorly absorbed after administration by the oral route; what small proportion of the substance is taken up is likely to be rapidly excreted. Based on experimental rat data on a related soluble platinum salt, an absorption figure of 0.5% is proposed.


Although availability by the inhalation route is anticipated to be low, inhalation absorption is likely extensive based on its water soluble nature and relatively-low molecular weight, as well as limited experimental data. Based on ECHA guidance, a conservative assumption of 100% inhalation absorption is proposed.


A high dermal bioavailability is unlikely, notably based on its high water solubility as well as experimental dermal penetration data (human in vitro studies) for a closely-related surrogate. However, the potential of dipotassium hexachloroplatinate to disrupt skin barrier function, facilitating increased dermal penetration, cannot be excluded, especially considering its known corrosivity to metals and to the eyes of rabbits. A value of 20% absorption is proposed.


Once absorbed, distribution and excretion are expected to be rapid, with little or no bioaccumulation occurring, due to the water soluble nature. The potential for bioaccumulation of certain other metals and ions is recognised.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Bioaccumulation potential:
low bioaccumulation potential
Absorption rate - oral (%):
Absorption rate - dermal (%):
Absorption rate - inhalation (%):

Additional information


Limited data indicate that absorption of soluble Pt compounds is very low following oral exposure. Seventy-one fasted male rats were administered a dose of radiolabelled191Pt (as PtCl4) by oral gavage, to provide 25 μCi of radiation. Routes of excretion, levels of whole-body retention and organ distribution were determined. Less than 0.5% of the orally-administered dose was absorbed (Moore et al., 1975b,c). Similarly, mice given a single gavage administration of radiolabelled Pt(SO4)2 were found to have absorbed only a very small fraction of the dose (Lown et al., 1980). [The authors of this study stated that, while they did not quantify the distribution of the radiolabel, their findings were consistent with those of Moore et al.].


Absorption of platinum from the normal diet was estimated by measuring the levels of platinum in various foods (from a hypothetical diet) and comparing to the concentration of platinum in the urine of 21 individuals. From this the investigators estimated that 42-60% of the dietary platinum was absorbed. US EPA reports the authors of this study as having presented the hypothesis that the approximately 50-fold difference between this estimate and the measured oral absorption in rodents may be a reflection of the greater bioavailability of dietary sources of platinum. Further, this estimate of absorption is based on dietary estimates from a ‘hypothetical diet’ and that more reliable conclusions on absorption would require measurements from subjects receiving diets with known platinum concentrations (US EPA, 2009). Also, differences between the rat and human absorption figures are likely an artefact of differences in the exposures – absolute dietary Pt content is very low compared to the gavage (bolus) doses administered to the rats, and so it follows that a higher percentage of the lower dose is absorbed and was detected. Moreover, using the lowest oral absorption figure (in this case, 0.5%) results in the most health precautionary DNELs (when extrapolating from an oral exposure to both inhalation and dermal long-term systemic values). Further, ECHA guidance is clear that the preferred approach is to undertake route-to-route extrapolation within one species as the first step. Thus, when deriving DNEL values from experimental studies in the rat, it is most appropriate to use the figures obtained in the toxicokinetic study in rats. Consequently, a figure of 0.5% oral absorption has been taken forward for use in subsequent risk and exposure assessments.


Laboratory studies provide only very limited insights into the extent of absorption of platinum compounds following inhalation. When two volunteers inhaled mainly the related salt (a member of the “hexachloroplatinate(IV) compounds” category), diammonium hexachloroplatinate, at calculated mean air concentrations of 1.7 and 0.15 µg Pt/m3, respectively, urinary Pt concentrations peaked (15-100-fold increases were seen) about 10 hr later. The results indicated rapid absorption and urinary excretion, but gave no quantitative insights into the extent of absorption (Schierl et al., 1998). Urinary Pt measurements in rats following an acute inhalation of radiolabelled Pt, PtO2, PtCl4 or Pt(SO4)2 (particle diameter around 1 µm) indicated only small fractions of the administered dose were absorbed, even for the two soluble salts. Most of the radiolabel appeared in the faeces, presumably reflecting mucociliary clearance and a lack of significant absorption from the gastrointestinal tract (Moore et al., 1975a).


While it is very unlikely that dipotassium hexachloroplatinate will be available to a high extent via the lungs, ECHA guidance notes that “that if data on the starting route (oral) are available these should be used, but for the end route (inhalation), the worst case inhalation absorption should still be assumed (i.e. 100%)”. Therefore, the health-precautionary figure of 100% as recommended by ECHA has been taken forward.


No substance-specific data on dermal uptake of dipotassium hexachloroplatinate were identified. The high water solubility suggests that significant dermal absorption through intact skin is unlikely. Furthermore, REACH guidance states that a reasonable default assumption is that dermal absorption will not be greater than by the oral route (ECHA, 2012) [i.e. <1% in this case]. However, two in vitro permeation studies on a related soluble platinum salt, dipotassium tetrachloroplatinate, showed a greater degree of absorption [about 5-8%] than this default process would assume. Using a K2PtCl4 solution (0.3 mg Pt/ml in synthetic sweat) and full thickness skin from six donors (three African and three Caucasian), 4.8 and 2.3%, respectively (as mean values), diffused into the skin in 24 hr; the receptor solutions contained a further 3.4 and 0.5%, respectively (Franken et al., 2015). A slightly earlier publication reported mean skin diffusion and receptor solution percentages of 2.2% and 2.3%, respectively, in similar studies on full thickness skin from four Caucasian females (Franken et al., 2014). Apart from these studies, very little information appears to be available regarding dermal absorption of platinum compounds.


Specific expert guidance on the health risk assessment of metals states that “inorganic compounds require dissolution involving dissociation to metal cations prior to being able to penetrate skin by diffusive mechanisms” and, as such, dermal absorption might be assumed to be very low (values of 0.1 and 1.0% are suggested for dry and wet media, respectively) (ICMM, 2007). However, the potential for dipotassium hexachloroplatinate to disrupt the skin barrier (potentially facilitating a greater degree of dermal uptake) cannot be ruled out (despite a lack of classification for skin irritation).


The related salt, diammonium hexachloroplatinate, displayed evidence of skin irritation in both a non-guideline patch test (Middleton, 1978b), and a skin sensitisation study (Middleton, 1977). Irritation, manifesting as swelling of the ear, was also seen in another skin sensitisation test (using the mouse ear swelling test (MEST) method) conducted on another category member, disodium hexachloroplatinate (Schuppe et al., 1997b). Furthermore, dipotassium hexachloroplatinate was found to be immediately corrosive when instilled into the eyes of rabbits (Berthold, 1995b), and is classified for metal corrosivity.


Overall, the default values are somewhat conflicting. Absorption in the range of that indicated by oral studies (i.e. <1%), as suggested by ECHA guidance and ICMM (2007), seems to be too low when considering the in vitro studies on human skin (Franken et al., 2014, 2015). However, assuming 100% absorption – on the basis of potential skin barrier disruption – could be considered as overestimating the dermal absorption potential, particularly considering its high water solubility. With particular reference to the Franken et al. studies, and consideration of possible disruption of the skin barrier, a value of 20% dermal absorption is proposed.



Once absorbed, distribution of potassium and hexachloroplatinate ions throughout the body is expected based on a relatively low molecular weight (~486 g/mol) and high water solubility.


In Moore’s study (1975b), platinum was found in the liver and kidney of rats gavaged with radiolabelled-PtCl4, although levels in other organs were not significantly above background. Other investigators have detected Pt in the liver, kidney, spleen, lung and testis following gavage administration (Lown et al., 1980). A range of other studies, summarised by the US EPA, concur with these findings, with the kidney clearly the most significant site of deposition. A similar pattern was observed following inhalation (US EPA, 2009).



In rats given gavage doses of radiolabelled-platinum compounds, absorbed Pt was found to be excreted in the urine and faeces (Moore et al., 1975b). However, given that oral absorption was so low, faecal excretion of unabsorbed Pt during the first 1-2 days after administration contributed substantially to the detected levels (US EPA, 2009).


Dipotassium hexachloroplatinate is considered to have only a low potential for bioaccumulation based on its physico-chemical properties (especially water solubility of 7700 mg/L; CRC, 2008).



Experimental data suggest that dipotassium hexachloroplatinate is likely to be poorly absorbed after administration by the oral route; what small proportion of the substance is taken up is likely to be rapidly excreted. Although inhalation is not anticipated to be a significant route of exposure, inhalation absorption is likely extensive based on its water soluble nature and relatively low molecular weight, as well as limited experimental data. A high dermal bioavailability is unlikely. Nevertheless, the potential of dipotassium hexachloroplatinate to disrupt skin barrier function, potentially facilitating increased dermal penetration, cannot be ruled out, especially considering its known corrosivity to metals and to the eyes of rabbits.


Absorption values of 0.5%, 100% and 20% are proposed for the oral, inhalation and dermal routes, respectively, and are considered health-precautionary for use in the calculation of DNEL values.



References not included elsewhere:


ECHA (2012). European Chemicals Agency. Guidance on information requirements and chemical safety assessment. Chapter R.8: Characterisation of dose [concentration]-response for human health. Reference: ECHA-2010-G-19-EN. Version 2.1. November 2012.


ECHA (2014). European Chemicals Agency. Guidance on information requirements and chemical safety assessment. Chapter R.7c: endpoint specific guidance. Version 2.0. November 2014.


Franken A, Eloff FC, du Plessis J, Badenhorst CJ, Jordaan A and Du Plessis JL (2014). In vitro permeation of platinum and rhodium through Caucasian skin. Toxicology in Vitro 28, 1396‑1401.


Franken A, Eloff FC du Plessis J, Badenhorst CJ and Du Plessis JL (2015). In vitro permeation of platinum through African and Caucasian skin. Toxicology Letters 232, 566-572.


ICMM (2007). International Council on Mining & Metals. Health risk assessment guidance for metals. September 2007.


Lown BA, Morganti JB, Stineman CH, D’Agostino RB and Massaro EJ (1980). Tissue organ distribution and behavioral effects of platinum following acute and repeated exposure of the mouse to platinum sulfate. Environmental Health Perspectives 34, 203-212. 


Moore W, Jr, Malanchuk M, Crocker W, Hysell D, Cohen A and Stara JF (1975a). Whole body retention in rats of different 191Pt compounds following inhalation exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives 12, 35-39.


Moore W, Hysell D, Hall L, Campbell K and Stara J (1975b). Preliminary studies on the toxicity and metabolism of palladium and platinum. Environmental Health Perspectives 10, 63-71.


Moore W, Jr, Hysell D, Crocker W and Stara J (1975c). Biological fate of a single administration of 191Pt in rats following different routes of exposure. Environmental Research 9, 152-158.


Schierl R, Fries HG, van de Weyer C and Fruhmann G (1998). Urinary excretion of platinum from platinum industry workers. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 55, 138-140.

US EPA (2009). United States Environmental Protection Agency. Toxicological review of halogenated platinum salts and platinum compounds in support of summary information on the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). January 2009 Draft. EPA/635/R-08/018.