The internal exposure of Taiwanese to phthalate-An evidence of intensive use of plastic materials

Mei Lien Chen, Jing Shieng Chen, Chia Ling Tang, I. Fang Mao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Phthalates are widely used in industry and consumer products. Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and di-n-butylphthalate (DBP) show the greatest potency of reproductive toxicants among phthalates. The purposes of this study are to examine the migration level of phthalate from PVC films by simulating food handling and to reveal the body burden of phthalate for Taiwanese. In order to estimate a worst-case of phthalate migration, food was covered with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) films and then microwave heated. Results show that DEHP level in food increased significantly after heating for 3 min. Under the heating condition, the calculated intake of phthalate and the percentage of the tolerable daily intake (TDI, based on body weight of 60 kg) from eating one 400-g meal were 1705.6 μg and 92.2% for DEHP. Determination of urinary metabolites from 60 subjects reveals more than 90% of samples were detectable for mono-methyl phthalate (MMP), mono-butyl phthalate (MBP) and mono-ethylhexyl phthalate (MEHP). Notably, the median value of estimated daily intake of DEHP had reached 91.6% of TDI established by the European Union Scientific Committee for Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) (1998). Thirty-seven percent of the study population exceeded the TDI and 85% exceeded the reference dose (RfD) of the US EPA. We conclude that the body burden of DEHP for Taiwanese reflects the intensives use of plastic materials in the region. The regulation of PVC for food preparation is necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-85
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironment International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Biomonitoring
  • Endocrine disruptor
  • Exposure assessment
  • Phthalate
  • PVC film


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