Around the world humans use products that contain phthalates, and human exposure to certain of these phthalates has been associated with various adverse health effects. The aim of the present study has been to determine the concentrations of the metabolites of diethyl phthalate (DEP), di(n-butyl) phthalate (DnBP), di(iso-butyl) phthalate (DiBP), butyl benzyl phthalate (BBzP) and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in urine samples from 441 Danish children (3–6 years old). These children were subjects in the Danish Indoor Environment and Children's Health study. As part of each child's medical examination, a sample from his or her first morning urination was collected. These samples were subsequently analyzed for metabolites of the targeted phthalates. The measured concentrations of each metabolite were approximately log-normally distributed, and the metabolite concentrations significantly correlated with one another. Additionally, the mass fractions of DEP, DnBP, DiBP and BBzP in dust collected from the children's bedrooms and daycare centers significantly correlated with the concentrations of these phthalates’ metabolites (monoethyl phthalate (MEP), mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP), mono-isobutyl phthalate (MiBP) and monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP), respectively) in the children's urine. Such correlations indicate that indoor exposures meaningfully contributed to the Danish children's intake of DEP, DnBP, DiBP and BBzP. This was not the case for DEHP. The urine concentrations of the phthalate metabolites measured in the present study were remarkably similar to those measured in urine samples from children living in countries distributed over four continents. These similarities reflect the globalization of children's exposure to phthalate containing products.
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 2013, Vol 217, Issue 1, p. 78-87