In an article published on March 27, 2018 in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Shao-hui Zhang and colleagues from the Experiment Center, the Third Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang, China, report on a cross-sectional epidemiological study investigating associations between phthalate exposure and blood pressure in 474 Chinese adults.

The scientists analyzed data on the blood pressure, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels in serum, and serum concentrations of 16 phthalates measured in people recruited from a primary health care clinic. Multivariate linear regression analysis revealed a significant positive association between the levels of bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP, CAS 117-81-7) and systolic blood pressure. Furthermore, dimethyl phthalate (DMP, CAS 131-11-3) and bis (2-N-butyxoethyl) phthalate (DBEP, CAS 117-83-9) showed “significant positive dose-related associations” with total cholesterol levels in serum.

The authors emphasize that the observed associations “persisted even when considering exposure to multiple phthalates” and conclude that phthalate exposure in adults may lead to increased blood pressure. Given this evidence, they call for “further studies in a larger and more general population.” In 2013, U.S. scientists reported an association between phthalate levels and high blood pressure in children (FPF reported).


Zhang, S.-h., et al. (2018). “Phthalate exposure and high blood pressure in adults: a cross-sectional study in China.Environmental Science and Pollution Research (published March 27, 2018).