Recent Studies—Health Effects of Phthalates


  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP) on Phthalates released its final report in July. Its literature review suggests that prenatal phthalate exposure may contribute to male reproductive developmental disorders and neurobehavioral effects in male infants and children. Additional research suggests adult exposure may be linked to poor sperm quality. It also found that food, beverages and direct ingestion of drugs were the largest sources of overall phthalate exposure but that certain phthalates present in toys, teething products, childcare and home furnishing items were the major source – in addition to food – for infants and children.

  • Scientists at Columbia University are the first to find that prenatal phthalate (DnBP and BBzP) exposure appears to increase risk of childhood asthma (also in Environmental Health News).

  • An analysis of phthalate metabolites measured in the Center for Disease Control’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) suggests certain phthalate exposure may result in reduced testosterone levels in both men and women (also in Science Daily).

  • Based on a study of phthalate levels of 400 children, scientists at Fudan University in Shanghai found age- and sex-specific concentration-effect associations between phthalate exposure and the children’s fat distribution, suggesting that phthalate exposure may play a role in excess weight gain.