Correlates of urinary concentrations of phthalate and phthalate alternative metabolites among reproductive-aged Black women from Detroit, Michigan

J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2021 May;31(3):461-475. doi: 10.1038/s41370-020-00270-9. Epub 2020 Sep 26.


Background: Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are widely present in consumer products. In the United States, Black women are more highly exposed to phthalates than other racial/ethnic groups, yet information on predictors of phthalate exposure among Black women is limited.

Objective: We evaluated the association of demographics, lifestyle, reproductive history, and personal care product use with urinary concentrations of phthalate and phthalate alternative metabolites, using cross-sectional data from a study of 754 Black women from Detroit, Michigan (2010-2012).

Methods: Women completed questionnaires and provided urine specimens which were analyzed for 16 phthalate and phthalate alternative metabolites. We used linear regression models to estimate mean percentage differences and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) in concentrations across levels of correlates.

Results: Monoethyl phthalate (MEP) and MBP concentrations were positively associated with personal care product use, particularly nail products. Educational attainment was positively associated with high molecular weight phthalate concentrations but inversely associated with monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP) concentrations. Parity was positively associated with MBzP concentrations and inversely associated with concentrations of MEP and high molecular weight phthalates.

Significance: We found that sociodemographics, reproductive characteristics, and use of certain personal care products were associated with urinary phthalate concentrations among Black women. Our results emphasize the importance of examining exposure determinants among multiply marginalized populations.

Keywords: Black women; DINCH; Phthalates; Reproductive aged.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Environmental Pollutants*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Michigan
  • Phthalic Acids*
  • Pregnancy


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Phthalic Acids
  • phthalic acid