Risk assessment of endocrine disrupting phthalates and hormonal alterations in children and adolescents

Dong Hyun Kim, Seul Min Choi, Duck Soo Lim, Taehyun Roh, Seung Jun Kwack, Sungpil Yoon, Min Kook Kim, Kyung Sil Yoon, Hyung Sik Kim, Dong Wook Kim, Byung Mu Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Risk assessment and hormone evaluation were carried out for di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), in 302 Korean children (n = 223) and adolescents (n = 79) (< age 19). Urinary and serum concentrations of DEHP, MEHP (mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate), DBP, MBP (monobutyl phthalate), and PA (phthalic acid, a common final metabolite of phthalates) were detected in children and adolescents. Daily exposure levels were estimated to be 16.45 ± 36.50 μg/kg b.w./day for DEHP, which is one-third of the tolerable daily intake (TDI) value (50 μg/kg b.w./day), but 14 out of 302 participants had a hazard index (HI = intake/TDI) value >1. The mean daily exposure level of DBP was 1.23 ± 1.45 μg/kg b.w./day, which is one-eighth of the TDI value (10 μg/kg b.w./day), but 1 out of 302 participants had a HI value > 1. Positive correlations were observed between serum DBP or MEHP, and serum estradiol (E2) and/or luteinizing hormone (LH) in prepubescent children. In addition, serum MBP levels were found to be negatively correlated with serum triiodothyronine (T3) or thyroxine (T4) in male participants, and serum DEHP levels with serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in female adolescents. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels were positively correlated with serum PA levels in children and adolescents. DEHP, DBP or its metabolites may be associated with altered hormone levels in children and adolescents. Data suggest that exposure levels of DEHP and DBP in Korean children need to be reduced to levels below TDI to protect them from EDC-mediated toxicities. Abbreviations: DBP: dibutyl phthalate; DEHP: di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate; E2: estradiol; EDC: endocrine disrupting chemical; EFSA: European Food Safety Authority; FSH: follicle stimulating hormone; HDL: high density lipoprotein; HI: hazard index; LDL: low density lipoprotein; LH: luteinizing hormone; MEHP: mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate; MBP: monobutyl phthalate; PA: phthalic acid; PPAR: peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma; PVC: polyvinyl chloride; T3: triiodothyronine; T4: thyroxine; TDI: tolerable daily intake; TG: triglyceride; TSH: thyroid stimulating hormone; UPLC/MS/MS: Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometry; WWF: World Wildlife Fund.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1150-1164
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2 2018


  • Phthalate
  • endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC)
  • hormone
  • risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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