Author(s): Calafat AM, McKee RH
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Abstract The probability of nonoccupational exposure to phthalates is high given their use in a vast range of consumables, including personal care products (e.g., perfumes, lotions, cosmetics), paints, industrial plastics, and certain medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Phthalates are of high interest because of their potential for human exposure and because animal toxicity studies suggest that some phthalates affect male reproductive development apparently via inhibition of androgen biosynthesis. In humans, phthalates are rapidly metabolized to their monoesters, which can be further transformed to oxidative products, conjugated, and eliminated. Phthalate metabolites have been used as biomarkers of exposure. Using urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations allows accurate assessments of human exposure because these concentrations represent an integrative measure of exposure to phthalates from multiple sources and routes. However, the health significance of this exposure is unknown. To link biomarker measurements to exposure, internal dose, or health outcome, additional information (e.g., toxicokinetics, inter- and intraindividual differences) is needed. We present a case study using diethyl phthalate and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate as examples to illustrate scientific approaches and their limitations, identify data gaps, and outline research needs for using biomonitoring data in the context of human health risk assessment, with an emphasis on exposure and dose. Although the vast and growing literature on phthalates research could not be covered comprehensively in this article, we made every attempt to include the most relevant publications as of the end of 2005.
This article was published in Environ Health Perspect
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology