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Concept: Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate


Environmental compounds are known to promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease in subsequent generations (F1-F3) following ancestral exposure during fetal gonadal sex determination. The current study was designed to determine if a mixture of plastic derived endocrine disruptor compounds bisphenol-A (BPA), bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) at two different doses promoted epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease and associated DNA methylation epimutations in sperm. Gestating F0 generation females were exposed to either the “plastics” or “lower dose plastics” mixture during embryonic days 8 to 14 of gonadal sex determination and the incidence of adult onset disease was evaluated in F1 and F3 generation rats. There were significant increases in the incidence of total disease/abnormalities in F1 and F3 generation male and female animals from plastics lineages. Pubertal abnormalities, testis disease, obesity, and ovarian disease (primary ovarian insufficiency and polycystic ovaries) were increased in the F3 generation animals. Kidney and prostate disease were only observed in the direct fetally exposed F1 generation plastic lineage animals. Analysis of the plastics lineage F3 generation sperm epigenome previously identified 197 differential DNA methylation regions (DMR) in gene promoters, termed epimutations. A number of these transgenerational DMR form a unique direct connection gene network and have previously been shown to correlate with the pathologies identified. Observations demonstrate that a mixture of plastic derived compounds, BPA and phthalates, can promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease. The sperm DMR provide potential epigenetic biomarkers for transgenerational disease and/or ancestral environmental exposures.

Concepts: DNA, Sex, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Bisphenol A, Epigenetics, Testicle, Endocrine system, Ovary


The environmental obesogen hypothesis proposes that exposure to endocrine disruptors during developmental ‘window’ contributes to adipogenesis and the development of obesity. MEHP [mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate], a metabolite of the widespread plasticizer DEHP [di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate], has been found in exposed organisms and identified as a selective PPARγ (peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor γ) modulator. However, implication of MEHP on adipose tissue development has been poorly investigated. In the present study, we show the dose-dependent effects of MEHP on adipocyte differentiation and GPDH (glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase) activity in the murine 3T3-L1 cell model. MEHP induced the expression of PPARγ as well as its target genes required for adipogenesis in vitro. Moreover, MEHP perturbed key regulators of adipogenesis and lipogenic pathway in vivo. In utero exposure to a low dose of MEHP significantly increased b.w. (body weight) and fat pad weight in male offspring at PND (postnatal day) 60. In addition, serum cholesterol, TAG (triacylglycerol) and glucose levels were also significantly elevated. These results suggest that perinatal exposure to MEHP may be expected to increase the incidence of obesity in a sex-dependent manner and can act as a potential chemical stressor for obesity and obesity-related disorders.

Concepts: Glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, Developmental biology, Nutrition, Fat, Endocrine disruptor, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Adipose tissue, Obesity


Personal care products are a source of exposure to potentially endocrine disrupting chemicals such as phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and benzophenone-3 (BP-3) for adolescent girls.

Concepts: Phenol, Paraben, Personal care, Xenoestrogen, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Endocrine disruptor, Cosmetics, Phenols


A previous analysis examined the contribution of endocrine disruptor exposures (endocrine-disrupting chemicals, EDCs) to adult diabetes, but was limited to effects of phthalates in middle-aged women and did not simultaneously examine multiple EDCs which are known to coexist in the environment. We therefore endeavoured to quantify potential reductions in diabetes and disease costs that could result from reducing synthetic chemical diabetogenic exposures in the elderly in Europe.

Concepts: Death, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Chemical reaction, Endocrine system, Old age, Obesity, Endocrine disruptor, Middle age


Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is a plasticizer widely used in the production of poly-(vinyl) chloride (PVC) materials. It is a reproductive and developmental toxicant in animals and a suspected endocrine modulator in humans. DEHP is not covalently bound within the PVC molecule, which is why migration into a suitable medium can be expected. Since application of infusion solutions is one of the most common medical treatments, the objective of this study was to determine the migration of phthalates from softened PVC storage bags into infusion solution in different time periods within one year from date of production using a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry method. The measured values of DEHP ranged between 0.22 and 14.00 µg l(-1) , but the unexpected presence of other phthalate esters was also detected. It was concluded that values obtained in infusion solutions match the reference data and represent a minor risk for the patient. The presence of other phthalate esters leads to the conclusion that the pharmacopeic requirement for polymer cleanness was not fully met. Since phthalate esters are among the most extensively used industrial chemicals and are widely distributed in the environment, special precautions and further monitoring should be conducted to minimize any possible health risks.

Concepts: Diisononyl phthalate, Phthalates, Plasticizers, Plastic, Chemistry, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Phthalate, Plasticizer


Human exposure to phthalates was assessed through digestive and respiratory intakes. Six phthalates (DMP, DEP, DnBP, BBP, DEHP, DnOP) were investigated in drinking water, in current foodstuff and in ambient air. Digestive intake was prevailing (92 %) with a major contribution of food (95.5 %). Phthalate intake from water was mainly due to bottled water (60 %) in spite of the minor volume absorbed daily. From the respiratory tract, it was dominated by DEP: 30.3 ng kg(-1) bw day(-1) and the part played by indoor air prevailed. Total intake were as ng kg(-1) bw day(-1), for DEHP: 1458, DnBP: 191.8, BBP: 164.3, DEP: 107.7, DMP: 79.1.

Concepts: Assessment, Intake, Phthalates, Plasticizer, Water, Bottled water, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Phthalate


Esters of phthalic acid are chemical agents used to improve the plasticity of industrial polymers. Their ubiquitous use in multiple commercial products results in extensive exposure to humans and the environment. This study investigated cytotoxicity, endocrine disruption, effects mediated via AhR, lipid peroxidation and effects on expression of enzymes of xenobiotic metabolism caused by di-(2-ethy hexyl) phthalate (DEHP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) in developing fish embryos. Oxidative stress was identified as the critical mechanism of toxicity (CMTA) in the case of DEHP and DEP, while the efficient removal of DBP and BBP by phase 1 enzymes resulted in lesser toxicity. DEHP and DEP did not mimic estradiol (E(2)) in transactivation studies, but at concentrations of 10mg/L synthesis of sex steroid hormones was affected. Exposure to 10mg BBP/L resulted in weak transactivation of the estrogen receptor (ER). All phthalates exhibited weak potency as agonists of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). The order of potency of the 4 phthalates studied was; DEHP>DEP>BBP>DBP. The study highlights the need for simultaneous assessment of (1) multiple cellular targets affected by phthalates and (2) phthalate mixtures to account for additive effects when multiple phthalates modulate the same pathway. Such cumulative assessment of multiple biological parameters is more realistic, and offers the possibility of more accurately identifying the CMTA.

Concepts: Phthalic acid, Dibutyl phthalate, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Estrogen, Steroid, Phthalate, Metabolism, Phthalates


Food products can be contaminated with toxic compounds via the environment. Another possibility of food contamination is that toxicants are generated in foods or that chemicals migrate from food contact materials into foods during processing. In this study, the effect of cooking at home on the levels of phthalates - world’s most used group of plasticisers - in various food types (starchy products, vegetables and meat and fish) was examined. Eight compounds were considered, namely dimethyl phthalate (DMP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), diisobutyl phthalate (DiBP), di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP), benzylbutyl phthalate (BBP), di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP) and di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP). Food products were analysed before as well as after cooking (boiling, steaming, (deep-)frying or grilling). In general, phthalate concentrations in foods declined after cooking, except in vegetables, where almost no effect was seen. Several factors influenced the degree of this decline (e.g. weight difference, fat uptake, etc.). Of all phthalates, DEHP, DiBP and BBP were affected the most. In conclusion, cooking at home definitely affected phthalate concentrations in foods and thus needs to be considered in order to correctly assess humans' dietary exposure to these contaminants.

Concepts: Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Food safety, Food, Plasticizers, Phthalate, Cooking, Phthalates, Nutrition


The emission of di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) from vinyl flooring (VF) was measured in specially designed stainless steel chambers. In duplicate chamber studies, the gas-phase concentration in the chamber increased slowly and reached a steady state level of 0.8-0.9 μg/m(3) after about 20 days. By increasing the area of vinyl flooring and decreasing that of the stainless steel surface within the chamber, the time to reach steady state was significantly reduced, compared to a previous study (1 month versus 5 months). The adsorption isotherm of DEHP on the stainless steel chamber surfaces was explicitly measured using solvent extraction and thermal desorption. The strong partitioning of DEHP onto the stainless steel surface was found to follow a simple linear relationship. Thermal desorption resulted in higher recovery than solvent extraction. Investigation of sorption kinetics showed that it takes several weeks for the sorption of DEHP onto the stainless steel surface to reach equilibrium. The content of DEHP in VF was measured at about 15% (w/w) using pressurized liquid extraction. The independently measured or calculated parameters were used to validate an SVOC emission model, with excellent agreement between model prediction and the observed gas-phase DEHP chamber concentrations.

Concepts: Steel, Stainless steel, Solution, Polyvinyl chloride, Phthalate, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Plasticizer, Adsorption


Some phthalates are endocrine disruptors and reproductive and developmental toxicants. Data on newborn phthalate exposure and elimination characteristics are scarce. We determined 21 urinary phthalate metabolites (indicating exposure to 11 parent phthalates) in two study approaches: in the first approach we collected the urine of 20 healthy newborns at days 2-5 post partum together with 47 urine samples of 7 women during pregnancy. In the second fine tuned approach we collected first urine samples of 9 healthy newborns together with their mother’s urine shortly before birth. To ensure full and contamination free collection of the newborns first urines we used special adhesive urine bags for children. All urine samples revealed ubiquitous exposures to phthalates comparable to other populations. Metabolite levels in the newborns first day urine samples were generally lower than in all other samples. However, the newborns urines (both first and day 2-5 urines) showed a metabolite pattern distinctly different from the maternal and general population samples: in the newborns urines the carboxy-metabolites of the long chain phthalates (DEHP, DiNP, DiDP) were the by far dominant metabolites with a relative share in the metabolite spectrum up to 6 times higher than in maternal urine. Oppositely, for the short chain phthalates (DBP, DiBP) oxidized metabolites seemed to be less favored than the simple monoesters in the newborns urines. The skewed metabolite distribution in the newborns urine warrants further investigation in terms of early phthalate metabolism, the quantity of internal phthalate exposure of the fetus/newborn and its possible health effects.

Concepts: Metabolism, Plasticizer, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Phthalates, Phthalate, Infant, Pregnancy, Childbirth