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Biomed Environ Sci. 2006 Jun;19(3):205-9.

Phthalate exposure and human semen quality in Shanghai: a cross-sectional study.

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Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.



To monitor the level of phthalates in human semen samples and to analyze the relationship between phthalate levels and semen parameters.


Concentrations of three kinds of commonly used phthalates (di-ethyl phthalate, DEP; di-n-butyl phthalate, DBP; di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, DEHP) were measured using reversed-phase HPLC. Semen parameters were measured by computer aided sperm analysis (CASA).


The three phthalates were detected in most of the biological samples, with median levels of 0.30 mg/L (0.08-1.32 mg/L) in semen specimens. There was a significant positive association between liquefied time of semen and phthalate concentrations of semen. The correlation coefficient was 0.456 for DEP, 0.475 for DBP, and 0.457 for DEHP, respectively. There was no significant difference between phthalate concentrations of semen and sperm density or livability, though the correlation coefficients were negative.


These results suggest that people who reside in Shanghai are exposed to phthalates, especially to DBP and DEHP. Although the level of phthalates is relatively mild, an association of phthalate levels and reduced quality of human semen has been shown in the present study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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