Biomonitoring of Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) in Italian children and adolescents: Data from LIFE PERSUADED project


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The Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), a widespread plasticizer, is considered an endocrine disrupting chemical with main toxicological effects on reproductive and metabolic systems. Human biomonitoring (HBM) studies are promoted to evaluate the background exposure levels. In the frame of LIFE PERSUADED project, the HBM study measured DEHP main metabolites (mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, MEHP; 2-ethyl-5-hydroxy-hexylphthalate, MEHHP; 2-ethyl-5-oxo-hexylphthalate, MEOHP) in Italian children and adolescent (4–14 years old) according to geographical macro-areas and areas, age and sex. Children from the South and the Centre of Italy showed higher median levels of DEHP, as a sum of its metabolites (48.14 and 47.80 μg/L), than those from the North (39.47 μg/L; p = 0.0090 and 0.0004, respectively). Considering the total population, boys are more exposed than girls (only as urinary volume), and children aged 4–6 years have higher median levels than those 7–10 and 11–14 years old. The derived reference values (RV95) for DEHP in children is 168 μg/L. The relative metabolic rates of DEHP, the background levels and, thus, the RV95, vary with the geographical area, age and sex, indicating that all these parameters should be considered in the risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109428
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Children exposure
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Reference values
  • Urinary DEHP metabolites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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