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Toxicol Lett. 2012 Aug 13;213(1):15-20. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2011.11.033. Epub 2011 Dec 16.

Urinary phthalate monoesters concentration in couples with infertility problems.

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INAIL Research, Department of Occupational Medicine, Via di Fontana Candida 1, 00040 Monteporzio Catone, Rome, Italy.


The widespread use of phthalates results in human exposure: phthalates are rapidly metabolized to their respective monoesters and other oxidative products, which are glucuronidated and excreted through the urine and feces. Several in vivo studies showed that some phthalates, in particular diethyl-hexyl phthalate (DEHP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), di(n-butyl)phthalate (DnBP) and n-butylbenzylphthalate (BBzP), are able to interact with the human endocrine system, interfering with the reproduction ability. In this study, 56 couples were recruited from a centre of assisted reproduction. Spot urine samples were collected and five urinary metabolites of the above phthalates were determined using an HPLC/MS/MS analytical method with isotopic dilution. The results were compared with those of 56 couples of parents of one or more children and the statistical analysis revealed a significant difference between the two groups in terms of urinary concentrations of phthalates metabolites. A further step will be the correlation of these results with information on the life styles and working conditions collected through a specifically designed questionnaire.

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