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Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Nov;113(11):1530-5.

Personal care product use predicts urinary concentrations of some phthalate monoesters.

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Department of Environmental Health, Occupational Health Program, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115-9957, USA.


Phthalates are multifunctional chemicals used in a variety of applications, including personal care products. The present study explored the relationship between patterns of personal care product use and urinary levels of several phthalate metabolites. Subjects include 406 men who participated in an ongoing semen quality study at the Massachusetts General Hospital Andrology Laboratory between January 2000 and February 2003. A nurse-administered questionnaire was used to determine use of personal care products, including cologne, aftershave, lotions, hair products, and deodorants. Phthalate monoester concentrations were measured in a single spot urine sample by isotope dilution-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. Men who used cologne or aftershave within 48 hr before urine collection had higher median levels of monoethyl phthalate (MEP) (265 and 266 ng/mL, respectively) than those who did not use cologne or aftershave (108 and 133 ng/mL, respectively). For each additional type of product used, MEP increased 33% (95% confidence interval, 14-53%). The use of lotion was associated with lower urinary levels of monobutyl phthalate (MBP) (14.9 ng/mL), monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP) (6.1 ng/mL), and mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP) (4.4 ng/mL) compared with men who did not use lotion (MBP, 16.8 ng/mL; MBzP, 8.6 ng/mL; MEHP, 7.2 ng/mL). The identification of personal care products as contributors to phthalate body burden is an important step in exposure characterization. Further work in this area is needed to identify other predictors of phthalate exposure.

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