alexa Effects of di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) on male reproductive development in the rat: implications for human risk assessment
Environmental Sciences

Environmental Sciences

Journal of Pollution Effects & Control

Author(s): PMD Foster, RC Cattley, E Mylchreest

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The National Toxicology Program (NTP) conducted a continuous breeding study in SD rats with di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) given via the diet at dose levels of up to 650 mg/kg/day. In the parental generation effects on reproduction were modest (small decreases in litter size and pup weight following treatment). However, the F1 male offspring had marked decreases in fertility (at 650 mg/kg/day), with reduced sperm counts and reproductive tract malformations on reaching adulthood. A no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) was not established for the study [lowest-observed-adverse-effect level (LOAEL) 66 mg/kg/day]. In a study conducted at CIIT, the majority of these adverse changes could be reproduced over a similar dose range, but with a much shorter dosing regimen covering a critical window of development (gestation days 12–20). A default risk assessment for DBP indicates a reference dose (RfD) of 66 μg/kg/day, based on a LOAEL of 66 mg/kg/day and default factors of 10 for inter-species and inter-individual differences and the lack of a NOAEL. Human exposure data would indicate worst-case scenarios to infants (via formula) in the dose range of the RfD. A default risk assessment appears to be inappropriate since rodents, unlike primates, metabolize phthalate diesters (including DBP) to monoesters extensively in the gut following oral administration. It is believed that the monoester is the active principle for induction of reproductive and developmental toxicity of specific phthalate esters. Thus, if humans produce very low levels of the monoester from an environmental exposure to the diester, the likelihood of any reproductive or developmental toxicity via the oral route appears extremely remote.

This article was published in Food and Chemical Toxicology and referenced in Journal of Pollution Effects & Control

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