In a new study published online on April 3, 2015 in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, researchers investigated the differences in phthalate exposure between children and adults among Japanese families thought to share lifestyle and home environments. Bamai and colleagues measured levels of seven phthalate metabolites in urine samples collected from 178 children attending public elementary schools in Sapporo, Japan, and their 284 family members. The researchers then estimated the daily phthalate intake for each participant from their urinary phthalate metabolite levels. Additionally, the authors investigated whether the phthalate exposure contributions among children were more correlated with their mothers or fathers. The results show that the school children and their preschool age siblings had higher levels of phthalate metabolites in their urine in comparison to their parents. All phthalate metabolite levels as well as sums of metabolite levels in school children were found to be positively correlated with their mothers (except for mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate), while the levels in fathers were less correlated with their children. The calculated intake of the common food contact substance diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP, CAS 117-81-7) was higher in comparison to previous studies. Moreover, 10% of the children and 3% of the adults exceeded the Reference Dose (RfD) value (20 μg/kg/day) established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to the authors, this finding clearly indicates an important need to focus on children’s DEHP exposure. The authors also highlight that the Japanese population is exposed to other phthalates, whose metabolites were not measured in the present study. Therefore, cumulative exposure has to be taken into account in future studies.

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Bamai, Y.A. et al. (2015). “Comparisons of urinary phthalate metabolites and daily phthalate intakes among Japanese families.International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health (published online April 3, 2015).