Organophosphate ester and phthalate ester metabolites in urine from primiparas in Shenzhen, China: Implications for health risks

Environ Pollut. 2019 Apr;247:944-952. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.01.107. Epub 2019 Feb 1.


Organophosphate esters (OPEs) and phthalate esters (PAEs) are extensively used as additives in commercial and household products. However, knowledge on human exposure to OPEs and PAEs remains limited in China. This study aimed to investigate OPE and PAE metabolites in urine samples of primiparas and to evaluate the cumulative risk of OPE and PAE exposure. A total of 8 OPE metabolites and 11 PAE metabolites were measured in urine samples of 84 primiparas from Shenzhen, China. The OPE metabolites were found in at least 72% of the urine samples with bis(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (BCEP) being the dominant analogue. Among the 11 PAE metabolites, mono-n-butyl phthalate (mBP) was the most abundant analogue and had a median concentration (139 μg/L) greater than those reported in urine samples from other countries and regions. A significant, positive correlation was found between Σ8OPEMs (the sum of 8 OPE metabolites) and body mass index (BMI). The urinary concentration of Σ11PAEMs (the sum of 11 PAE metabolites) was positively associated with the time of computer using by the primiparas. The estimated daily intakes (EDI) of tris(2-chlorethyl) phosphate (TCEP, the parent chemical of BCEP) and di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP, the parent chemical of mBP) were determined to be 0.47 and 9.14 μg/kg bw/day, respectively. The 95th percentile EDI values for TCEP and DnBP both exceeded their corresponding reference doses. Twelve and fifty-five percentage of the primiparas were estimated to have HIRfD (hazard index corresponding to reference doses) and HITDI (hazard index corresponding to tolerable daily intake) values exceeding 1 for OPEs and PAEs, respectively, suggesting a relatively high exposure risk.

Keywords: Cumulative risk; Estimated daily intake; Metabolites; Organophosphate esters; Phthalate esters; Primiparas.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • China
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Pollutants / urine*
  • Esters / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Organophosphates / urine*
  • Phthalic Acids / urine*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Young Adult


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Esters
  • Organophosphates
  • Phthalic Acids