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Reviews on Environmental Health

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Volume 32, Issue 1-2 (Mar 2017)


Exposure of children to phthalates and the impact of consumer practices in Slovakia

Miroslava Šidlovská
  • Corresponding author
  • Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Zoology and Anthropology, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Nitra, Slovakia
  • Email:
/ Ida Petrovičová
  • Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Zoology and Anthropology, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Nitra, Slovakia
/ Branislav Kolena
  • Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Zoology and Anthropology, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Nitra, Slovakia
/ Tomáš Pilka
  • Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Zoology and Anthropology, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Nitra, Slovakia
/ Eva Šovčíková
  • Faculty of Public Health, Department of Environmental Medicine, Slovak Medical University in Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia
/ Tomáš Trnovec
  • Faculty of Public Health, Department of Environmental Medicine, Slovak Medical University in Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia
Published Online: 2017-02-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2016-0028


Phthalates are environmental pollutants that can enter the human body by ingestion, inhalation and dermal absorption. Food constitutes the most important source of human exposure to these chemicals. The aim of our study was the biological monitoring of exposure to eight phthalate metabolites in children (n=107), 10–12 years of age, living in eastern Slovakia. Additionally, we analysed some associations between anthropometric measures, questionnaire data (i.e. eating and drinking habits, practice of personal care products) and concentrations of phthalate metabolites. Because of the short half-life of phthalates, within 24–48 h, we used 24-h recalls to assess dietary intakes. We used high-performance liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry for the analysis of spot urine samples to determine concentrations of phthalate metabolites mono-ethyl phthalate (MEP), mono-n-butyl phthalate, mono-iso-butyl phthalate, mono-benzyl phthalate (MBzP), mono (2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate (5OH-MEHP), mono(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (5oxo-MEHP), mono-carboxy pentyl and mono (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP). We found statistically significant association between consumer practices and concentration of some phthalate metabolites, concretely consumption of milk and dairy products with MBzP and margarine with MEP (p<0.01 in both cases) and margarine with 5oxo-MEHP, hot beverages with 5OH-MEHP, baguettes and semifinished products with MEP (p<0.05 in all cases). Further, we found relationship between use of cosmetic products and phthalate concentrations, nail polish application and MEP and use of body lotion and MEHP (p<0.05 in both cases). We concluded that consumer practices (including eating and drinking habits and personal care) represent the substantial source of phthalate exposure in Slovak children.

Keywords: food packaging; personal care; phthalate exposure


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About the article

Received: 2016-07-22

Accepted: 2017-01-12

Published Online: 2017-02-23

Published in Print: 2017-03-01

Author Statement

Research funding: This study was supported by project APVV-0571-12 and project UGA VIII/28/2016. The authors thank Michaela Földesiova for her excellent technical assistance. Conflict of interest statement: The authors state no conflict of interest. Informed consent: Participation was voluntary and there was a possibility to withdraw participation at any time during the study. The legal representatives of all children gave written informed consent before the study to provide samples of urine, to complete questionnaires and to allow the researchers to take measurements and also to process their personal records and data. Ethical approval: The research related to human use complied with all the relevant national regulations and institutional policies and was performed in accordance to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki. The study received an approval from the Institutional Review Board of the Slovak Medical University.

Citation Information: Reviews on Environmental Health, ISSN (Online) 2191-0308, ISSN (Print) 0048-7554, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2016-0028. Export Citation

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