According to an epidemiological study published on August 15, 2014 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism testosterone concentrations in human blood were inversely associated with phthalate levels. The study authors John D. Meeker and Kelly K. Ferguson from the University of Michigan, U.S. examined phthalate body burden and testosterone levels in 2,208 people who participated in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011-2012. Testosterone and 13 specific degradation products of different phthalates were analyzed in blood and urine samples, respectively. Boys aged 6 to 12 had 24 to 34% decreased testosterone levels when levels of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP, CAS 117-81-7) metabolites were increased. “This may have important public health implications, since low testosterone levels in young boys can negatively impact reproductive development”, the authors of the study conclude. DEHP is currently used in the production of a variety of food contact materials e.g. plastic, paper, rubber and printing inks. Under REACH, DEHP was placed on the authorization list of Substances of Very High Concern (Annex XIV).
Endocrine Society (August 14, 2014). “Reduced testosterone tied to endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure.”
Meeker, J.D. et al. (2014) “Urinary phthalate metabolites are associated with decreased serum testosterone in men, women, and children from NHANES 2011-2012.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (published online August 14, 2014).