Environmental Phthalate Exposure in Relation to Reproductive Outcomes and Other Health Endpoints in Humans

Environmental Phthalate Exposure in Relation to Reproductive Outcomes and Other Health Endpoints in Humans

Sameena, Riyes Un Aziz, Aubid Bashir
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2351-3.ch013
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Phthalates are the class of chemicals that exhibit numerous adverse effects to health. These non-persistent chemicals are produced in high volume annually and are used in a wide array of industrial consumer products. The overall exposure of phthalates to humans is via ingestion of contaminated food from wrapped materials or dermally via consumer care products. Pthalates are anti-androgenic compounds, so for this reason, they obtrude with the expression of testosterone by manipulating gene expression of proteins and enzymes involved in production of testosterone. The primarily exposure of Pthalates during fetal development stage results in number of harmful effects in male offspring in humans, like abnormalities of the sperm-producing organs, abnormal development of penile, hypospadias, reduced anogenital distance, as well as a risk for prostate cancer and cryptorchidism. The purpose of this chapter was to review the environmental impact of phthalate exposure in relation to reproductive behavior and other health problems in humans.
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Characteristics Of Pthalates

Phthalates are esters of phthalic acid, also known as esters of benzene-1, 2-dicarboxylic acid are man-made chemicals widely used in industry and commerce. This particular group of manufactured chemicals compounds has a broad spectrum of industrial applications and these chemicals ultimately appear extensively in food processing, consumer products, as well as in medical applications. Phthalates have a benzene ring with two functional (ester) groups. Their solubility in water decreases with an increase in the length of the carbon chain. Phthalates are colorless and odorless oily liquids characterized by limited solubility in water, satisfactory solubility in most organic solvents, high boiling point or molecular weight, low volatility. The esterification reaction to phthalic acid with various alcohols results in the production of the compounds. The amplest use of phthalates in many consumer and personal-care products result in expansive non occupational exposure to humans through several routes (Hauser et al., 2007).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cryptorchidism: It is the absence of one or both testes from the scrotum.

Pthalates: Phthalates, or phthalate esters, are esters of phthalic acid. They are mainly used as plasticizers (i.e., substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity). They are used primarily to soften polyvinyl chloride.

Biomonitoring: It is the measurement of the body burden of toxic chemical compounds, elements, or their metabolites, in biological substances. Often, these measurements are done in blood and urine.

Asthma: A condition in which a person's airways become inflamed, narrow and swell, and produce extra mucus, which makes it difficult to breathe.

Steroidogenesis: It is a synthetic process that begins with cholesterol as a substrate and, through a series of enzymatic reactions, produces a wide array of bioactive interrelated signaling molecules.

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