In a study published online on February 25, 2015 in the peer-reviewed journal Science of the Total Environment, Taiwanese researchers present intervention strategies they designed for reducing exposure to phthalates. Chen and colleagues from the National Cheng Kung University explain that children in Taiwan seem to be exposed to higher levels of phthalates compared to children in Western nations. This finding was their primary motivation to develop and assess strategies for effective phthalate exposure reduction. The developed intervention strategies included hand washing, avoiding plastic containers, not eating food packed in a plastic bag/plastic-wrap cover, not microwaving food, not taking nutrition supplements, and reducing use of personal care products. Urine samples were collected pre- and post-intervention from 30 girls aged 4-13 years and analyzed for eight phthalate metabolites. The results suggest that hand washing and drinking fewer beverages from plastic cups are the most effective exposure reduction strategies, especially in the case of dibutyl phthalate (DBP, CAS 84-74-2) and diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP, CAS 117-81-7). Both DEHP and DBP are authorized in the EU for use in plastic food contact materials under Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 and can also be used in the production of paper and board for food contact. The authors conclude that their results clearly demonstrate that it is possible to decrease body burden of phthalates in children by education and voluntary restraint.
Chen, C-Y. et al. (2015). “Developing an intervention strategy to reduce phthalate exposure in Taiwanese girls.” Science of the Total Environment 517, 125–131.