Phthalates and type 1 diabetes: is there any link?

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2018 Jun;25(18):17915-17919. doi: 10.1007/s11356-018-1997-z. Epub 2018 Apr 21.


Phthalates are a group of chemical compounds used as plasticizers in the manufacture of plastic materials. They can be present in many commonly used products. There seems to be a relationship between exposure to phthalates and the occurrence of metabolic dysfunctions, such as a decrease in glucose tolerance, oxidative stress, loss of beta cells, and a decrease in insulin synthesis. As beta cells play a key role in the onset of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), we sought to investigate the relationship between exposure to phthalates and the diagnosis of T1DM in prepubertal children. Design concentrations of phthalate metabolites were compared in the urine of a population of prepubertal children with new-onset diabetes, patients with T1DM diagnosed more than 6 months previously, and healthy control children. Although the concentrations of DBP and DiBP metabolites were statistically identical in the new-onset diabetes, diabetes, and control groups, there was a clear trend for higher levels of DiBP metabolites in the children with new-onset diabetes. In our sample, there was a trend for higher levels of DiBP metabolites in children with new-onset diabetes.

Keywords: Phthalates; Type 1 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / urine
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Phthalic Acids / chemistry
  • Phthalic Acids / metabolism*
  • Phthalic Acids / urine
  • Plasticizers / chemistry
  • Plasticizers / metabolism*
  • Plastics / chemistry*


  • Phthalic Acids
  • Plasticizers
  • Plastics
  • phthalic acid