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Diethylhexyl phthalate

4. How can humans be exposed to DEHP?

  • 4.1 How can workers be exposed to DEHP?
  • 4.2 How can consumers be exposed to DEHP?
  • 4.3 To what extent can the general public be exposed to DEHP through the environment?

Humans can be exposed to DEHP at the workplace, through industrial use of products containing DEHP, or as consumers (through indoor air, car interiors, toys, medical equipment, and the general environment). More...

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4.1 How can workers be exposed to DEHP?

Inhalation and deposition on the skin represents the main path of exposure of DEHP at the workplace. Exposure to DEHP via inhalation ranges from 5 mg (production) to 10 mg (industrial uses) per cubic metre of air. Exposure of the skin ranges from 420 milligrams per kilogram body weight (mg/kg bw) per day for industrial uses of DEHP, through 650 mg/kg bw/day for production of DEHP, to 1300 mg/kg bw/day for industrial end-use of products containing DEHP.

Total internal exposure to DEHP in the workplace is estimated to be in the range of 1-2 mg/kg bw/day. This reflects the very poor absorption of DEHP through the skin. More...

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4.2 How can consumers be exposed to DEHP?

Exposure of consumers can be via various sources such as toys, car interiors and medical equipment. Exposure is considered for two separate age-groups (children/adults), as the availability of DEHP to the tissues is expected to be higher in children than in adults. It has been estimated that exposure is highest for children, due to toys and child-care products that contain DEHP, and for patients undergoing medical treatment.

In children the highest exposure estimates are due to:

  • toys and child-care articles, 0.2 mg/kg/day
  • long-term blood transfusion in children, 0.075 mg/kg/day
  • blood transfusions in neonates, 1.7 mg/kg/day.

In adults the highest exposure estimate is due to:

  • long-term haemodialysis, 3.1 mg/kg/day.

In adults the highest exposure estimate is due to: More...

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4.3 To what extent can the general public be exposed to DEHP through the environment?

Indirect exposure of humans via multiple pathways in the environment is lower than consumer exposure.

For the general environment, exposure is estimated to be 0.017 mg/kg/day. For those living near industrial sites producing or using DEHP, exposures are estimated to be 0.002-0.067 mg/kg/day for adults and 0.020-0.312 mg/kg/day for children.

Exposure of infants fed on breast milk is estimated to be 0.006 mg/kg/day and that of infants fed on formula 0.013 mg/kg/day. More...

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