Concentrations of phthalates and bisphenol A in Norwegian foods and beverages and estimated dietary exposure in adults

Environ Int. 2014 Dec;73:259-69. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.08.005. Epub 2014 Aug 28.


Phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) are ubiquitous in our environment. These chemicals have been characterized as endocrine disruptors that can cause functional impairment of development and reproduction. Processed and packaged foods are among the major sources of human exposure to these chemicals. No previous report showing the levels of these chemicals in food items purchased in Norway is available. The aim of the present study was to determine the concentration of ten different phthalates and BPA in foods and beverages purchased on the Norwegian market and estimate the daily dietary exposure in the Norwegian adult population. Commonly consumed foods and beverages in Norway were purchased in a grocery store and analysed using gas- and liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. Daily dietary exposures to these chemicals in the Norwegian adult population were estimated using the latest National dietary survey, Norkost 3 (2010-2011). This study showed that phthalates and BPA are found in all foods and beverages that are common to consume in Norway. The detection frequency of phthalates in the food items varied from 11% for dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP) to 84% for di-iso-nonyl phthalate (DiNP), one of the substitutes for bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP). BPA was found in 54% of the food items analysed. Among the different phthalates, the highest concentrations were found for DEHP and DiNP in the food items. Estimated dietary exposures were also equally high and dominated by DEHP and DiNP (400-500 ng/kg body weight (bw)/day), followed by di-iso-butyl phthalate (DiBP), di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP), di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP) and di-iso-decyl phthalate (DiDP) (30-40 ng/kg bw/day). Dimethyl phthalate (DMP), diethylphthalate (DEP) and DCHP had the lowest concentrations and the exposures were around 10-20 ng/kg bw/day. Estimated dietary exposure to BPA was 5 ng/kg bw/day. In general, levels of phthalates and BPA in foods and beverages from the Norwegian market are comparable to other countries worldwide. Grain and meat products were the major contributors of exposure to these chemicals in the Norwegian adult population. The estimated dietary exposures to these chemicals were considerably lower than their respective tolerable daily intake (TDI) values established by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Keywords: Beverages; Bisphenol A; Dietary exposure; Food; Norway; Phthalate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / analysis*
  • Beverages / analysis*
  • Diet
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Food Analysis*
  • Humans
  • Norway
  • Phenols / analysis*
  • Phthalic Acids / analysis*
  • Plasticizers / analysis*


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Phenols
  • Phthalic Acids
  • Plasticizers
  • bisphenol A