Human biomonitoring of phthalate exposure in Austrian children and adults and cumulative risk assessment

Phthalates are a class of chemicals widely used as plasticisers in a multitude of common consumer products. Through contact with such products, people are regularly exposed to phthalates, which are suspected to contribute to adverse health effects, particularly in the reproductive system. In the present study, 14 urinary phthalate metabolites of 10 parent phthalates were analysed by HPLC-MS/MS among the Austrian population aged 6-15 and 18-81 years in order to assess phthalate exposure. In the total study population, ranges of urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations were n.d.-2,105?g/l (median 25?g/l) for monoethyl phthalate (MEP), n.d.-88?g/l (10?g/l) for mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP), n.d.-248?g/l (28?g/l) for mono-isobutyl phthalate (MiBP), n.d.-57?g/l (1.8?g/l) for mono-benzyl phthalate (MBzP), n.d.-20?g/l (n.d.) for mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP), n.d.-80?g/l (2.6?g/l) for mono-(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate (5OH-MEHP), n.d.-57?g/l (1.9?g/l) for mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (5oxo-MEHP), n.d.-219?g/l (11?g/l) for mono-(5-carboxy-2-ethylpentyl) phthalate (5cx-MEPP), n.d.-188?g/l (1.6?g/l) for 3-carboxy-mono-proply phthalate (3cx-MPP), n.d.-5.5?g/l (n.d.) for mono-cyclohexyl phthalate (MCHP), n.d.-4.5?g/l (n.d.) for mono-n-pentyl phthalate (MnPeP), n.d.-3.4?g/l (n.d.) for mono-n-octyl phthalate (MnOP), n.d.-13?g/l (n.d.) for mono-isononyl phthalate (MiNP), and n.d.-1.1?g/l (n.d.) for mono-isodecyl phthalate (MiDP). Generally, children exhibited higher levels of exposure to the majority of investigated phthalates, except to MEP, which was found in higher concentrations in adults and senior citizens at a maximum concentration of 2,105?g/l. Individual daily intakes were estimated based on urinary creatinine and urinary volume excretion and were then compared to acceptable exposure levels, leading to the identification of accedence’s of mainly the Tolerable Daily Intakes (TDI), especially among children. The execution of a cumulative risk assessment based on Hazard Indices showed cause for concern mainly for children, as well as in rare cases for adults. Although phthalate exposure seems to have decreased in previous years, the wide distribution and existing accedence’s of acceptable levels indicate that phthalate exposure should be further monitored in order to identify exposure sources and enable appropriate minimisation measures.

Authors: Hartmann C, Uhl M, Weiss S, Koch HM, Scharf S, König J. ;Full Source: International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. 2015 Jul;218(5):489-99. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2015.04.002. Epub 2015 Apr 21. ;