Send to

Choose Destination
Toxicol Rep. 2017 May 17;4:234-239. doi: 10.1016/j.toxrep.2017.05.004. eCollection 2017.

Phthalates and heavy metals as endocrine disruptors in food: A study on pre-packed coffee products.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Unit of Andrology and Reproductive Medicine, University of Padova, 35128 Padova, Italy.
Institute of Condensed Matter Chemistry and Technologies for Energy (ICMATE), National Research Council-CNR, 35127 Padova, Italy.
Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy.
Clinical Pharmacology Unit, Department of Medicine DIMED, School of Medicine, University of Padova, 35128, Padova, Italy.


Phthalate plasticizers and heavy metals are widely recognized to be pollutants that interfere with key developmental processes such as masculinization. We investigated the release of phthalates and heavy metals in coffee brewed from coffee packed in single-serve coffee containers made from different types of materials: metal, biodegradable and plastics. We detected with GC-MS small amounts phthalates, below the tolerated daily risks levels, in all the coffees prepared from the different types of capsules. Specifically, Di (2-ethyl-hexyl)-phthalate and DiBP: Diisobuthyl-pthalate were ubiquitously present despite the high variability among the samples (respective range 0.16-1.87 μg/mL and 0.01-0.36 μg/mL). Whereas, diethyl-phthalate (range 0.20-0.26 μg/mL) and di-n-buthyl-phthalate (range 0.02-0.14 μg/mL) were detected respectively in one and three out of the four types of capsule tested. In contrast, we detected by atomic mass spectrometry on mineralized samples heavy metals lead (Pb) and nickel (Ni), in all coffee tested. PB levels (respective range 0.32-211.57 μg/dose) accounted for 42-79%, whereas Ni levels (respective range 166.25-1950.26 μg/dose) accounted for >100% of the tolerable daily intake. These results add to the already present concerns related to the multiple pathways of human exposure and the ubiquitous presence of these pollutants in consumer products and their long-term effect on human health.


Coffee pods; Hazard index; Heavy metals; Masculinization; Phthalates; Tolerable daily intake

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center