Norwegian researchers, investigating a wide range of phthalates, were able to link a high body burden of mono-carboxynonyl phthalate (MCNP) and mono-carboxyoctyl phthalate (MCOP), metabolites of di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP)  and di-isononyl phthalate (DINP), respectively, with asthma (Bertelsen et al. 2012). Previously, mostly the exposure to phthalates via inhalation had been linked to asthma (Bornehag and Nanberg 2010), but here the researchers believe that the largest part of exposure can be attributed to contaminated food.

DIDP and DINP are used as plasticizers in polyvinyl chloride (PVC), as well as in flooring, car interiors, toys and other applications. In toxicological animal studies exposure to DIDP and DINP affects reproductive outcomes, the development of male reproductive tract and results in liver damage.

The researchers measured urinary levels of MCNP and MCOP and other phthalate metabolites in Norwegian children. All children had a measureable body burden of phthalates. Associations with asthma were only significant at the highest levels of MCNP and MCOP and were controlled for urine specific gravity, sex, parental asthma and income.

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Environmental Health Perspectives- Open Access (Tanya Tillett)


Bertelsen RJ, et al.. Urinary Biomarkers for Phthalates Associated with Asthma in Norwegian Children. Environmental Health Perspectives (pulished online 16 November 2013).doi:10.1289/ehp.1205256

Bornehag, C.G. and E. Nanberg, Phthalate exposure and asthma in children. International Journal of Andrology, 2010. 33(2): p. 333-345.