On September 3, 2019, the government agency Public Health France announced the results of a biomonitoring study that analyzed over 1,100 children and 2,500 adults. The study investigated levels of a set of common chemicals including bisphenols, phthalates, flame retardants, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in urine and blood between 2014 and 2016. Results found that six PFAS were regularly present in both adults and children, and all samples tested positive for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA; CAS 335-67-1) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS; CAS 1763-23-1). Metabolites from nine phthalates were found in over 80% of samples, with the highest concentration coming from monoethyl phthalate (MEP; CAS 2306-33-4), which is often added to personal care products to increase fragrance. The study is part of a larger French project named Esteban that is run every seven years and aims to track changes in chemical exposures over time.

On September 13, 2019, the German Environment Ministry is reported to have finalized results from a study investigating the concentration of plastic byproducts in children. Between 2014 and 2017, blood and urine samples from 2,500 children were sampled for 15 plastic ingredients. In urine samples, 11 of the 15 tested substances were present in 97% of all children, noted primarily to be from plasticizers. “Our study clearly shows that with increasing production, plastic ingredients also occur more frequently in the body,” said Marike Kolossa-Gehring, an author of the study and toxicologist from the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA). “It is really worrying that the youngest children, the most sensitive group, are the most affected.” The study was provided upon request to the German Green Party, but it has not yet been publicly released by the ministry. Representatives from the party are reportedly calling for more research into exposure pathways of plastic chemicals and their effects on the human body.

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Emma Davies (September 12, 2019). “French biomonitoring study sets baseline for future research.” Chemical Watch

Santé Publique France (September 3, 2019). “Polluants du quotidien : données inédites chez les enfants et les adultes.” (in French)

Wesley Rahn (September 15, 2019). “Alarming Level of Plastic in Children’s Bodies, German Study Shows.” Deutsche Welle

Annette Bruhns (September 13, 2019). “Fast alle Kinder sind mit Weichmachern belastet.” Der Spiegel (in German)