Occupational exposure to phthalates in relation to gender, consumer practices and body composition

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2016 Dec;23(23):24125-24134. doi: 10.1007/s11356-016-7394-6. Epub 2016 Sep 17.


The aim of our work was to find associations between urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations and occupation, consumer practices and body composition. We divided our cohort (n = 129) into occupationally exposed subjects, community service workers (group A; n = 45) and workers from plastic industry (group B; n = 35) and group of general population (control group C, n = 49). To estimate levels of five phthalate metabolites, we used high-performance liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry analysis. We found in plastic industry workers compared to community service workers and subjects of the control group significantly higher urinary concentration mono (2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate (MEHHP), mono (2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (MEOHP), mono (2-etylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP), sum di-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (DEHP), mono-iso-butyl phthalate (MiBP) and mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP). We identified by multivariate analysis of covariance inverse relationship between MEHP and body parameters as waist-to-height ratio, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, hip circumference and waist circumference among females, whereas in males, no significant association was found. Results of our study show, despite of variability in terms of occupational exposure to phthalates, that plastic manufactory represents a higher occupational risk in comparison with waste management. The differences in anthropometric parameters between the two occupationally exposed groups and the general population are suggesting a detrimental effect of occupational exposure on body weight homeostasis.

Keywords: Abdominal obesity; Consumer practices; Human biomonitoring; Occupational exposure; Phthalates.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition* / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Structure
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Phthalic Acids / chemistry
  • Phthalic Acids / metabolism*
  • Phthalic Acids / toxicity
  • Plastics / chemistry
  • Plastics / metabolism
  • Plastics / toxicity
  • Sex Factors


  • Phthalic Acids
  • Plastics
  • phthalic acid