Skin Absorption of Phthalates as ‘Significant’ as Inhalation

« A group of American, Danish and German researchers say they have shown experimentally that absorption of phthalates from the air, via the skin, is just as important as inhalation.

The team exposed people to high levels of the phthalates DEP and DnBP in chambers for six hours. Some wore hoods which allowed them to breathe air with much lower phthalate levels, while others breathed the air in the chambers.
Urine samples were taken for the next 54 hours and analysed for phthalate monomers. The total levels were used to calculate phthalate intake levels and corrected for background exposures and phthalates in the hood air.

For both compounds, the experiments showed that exposures through skin and inhalation were similar:

• for DEP, the median skin uptake from air was 4.0 μg/(μg/m3 in air), compared with an inhalation intake of 3.8 μg/(μg/m3 in air); and
• for DnBP, the median skin uptake from air was 3.1 μg/(μg/m3 in air), compared with an inhalation intake of 3.9 μg/(μg/m3 in air).

The scientists conclude that skin uptake, directly from the air, can be a meaningful exposure route for DEP, DnBP and other chemicals with similar physico-chemical properties.
The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, reinforces earlier work which has relied simply on modelling. »


Full paper, « Transdermal Uptake of Diethyl Phthalate and Di(n-butyl) Phthalate Directly from Air: Experimental Verification » :
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