Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Daily intake of phthalates, MEHP, and DINCH by ingestion and inhalation

Weiss, Jana M.; Gustafsson, Asa; Gerde, Per; Bergman, Ake; Lindh, Christian H.; Krais, Annette M.


Phthalate esters, suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals, are used in a wide range of applications. Because phthalate esters are not covalently bound, they can easily leach into the indoor environment and associate to dust particles. Thus, exposure may occur through inhalation, ingestion, or contact with the skin. However, it is unclear to what degree indoor dust contributes to the daily intake of phthalate esters.This study investigates household dust as an exposure pathway for seven phthalate esters, the monoester MEHP, and the plasticizer DINCH. Household dust collected from children's sleeping rooms and from living rooms were analysed using gas and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. To compare two exposure pathways, different dust particle sizes were generated: a respirable fraction (<5 mu m) and an ingested particle fraction in the anticipated size range of skin adherence (<75 mu m). Modelling of dust inhalation and ingestion showed that the daily intake of dust-bound phthalate esters was likely to be 2 times (inhalation) to 12 times (ingestion) higher for 21-month-old children than for adults. These children's daily uptake of phthalate esters was 40-140 times higher through ingestion than inhalation. Furthermore, dust may be an exposure pathway for phthalate esters as well as for MEHP. Therefore, phthalate monoesters could be environmental contaminants of their own and need to be considered in health risk assessments. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Phthalate esters; Phthalate monoesters; Household dust; Pollution particles; Indoor pollution; Indoor environment

Published in

2018, volume: 208, pages: 40-49

Authors' information

Weiss, Jana
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Weiss, Jana
Stockholm University
Gustafsson, Åsa
Umeå University
Gerde, Per
Karolinska Institute
Bergman, Åke
Karolinska Institute
Lindh, Christian H.
Lund University
Krais, Annette M.
Karolinska Institute

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG3 Good health and wellbeing

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Health and Occupational Health

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)