The news agency Reuters reports today on two new scientific studies looking at associations between children’s exposure to diethylhexylphthalate (DEHP) and bisphenol A (BPA), respectively. Both studies were published in the peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics (Trasande et al. 2013, Eng et al. 2013).

In the first study, higher urinary DEHP concentrations in children and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years from the NHANES database were found to be associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance. The article is the first to report on this health effect of DEHP in children, while such an association has been previously found for adults. DEHP is found to migrate from plastic packaging, including PVC at higher levels, and from PET at low levels.

The second study reported an association between BPA and obesity in children aged six to 18 years, also using data from NHANES. While BPA’s obesogenic effects have been previously published, the underlying cause-and-effect relationship remains to be identified.

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Pittman, G. “BPA, phthalates tied to kids’ weight, diabetes risk.” Reuters, August 19 , 2013.


Trasande, L. et al. (2013) “Urinary Phthalates and Increased Insulin Resistance in Adolescents.” Pediatrics (published online August 19, 2013).

Eng, D.S. et al. (2013) “Bisphenol A and chronic disease risk factors in US children.” Pediatrics (published online August 19, 2013).