Characteristic of the Agent

Fate and Transport

Environmental Impacts

Environmental Monitoring

Exposure Pathway

Routes of Exposure

Methods for Measuring Human Exposure

Strategies for Preventing or Controlling Exposures

Harmful Effects

Dose Response

Absorption, Distribution and Metabolism


Target Organs and Tissues

Mechanisms of Toxicity

Risk Assessment and Risk Management


5103/5104 Home

Environmental Impacts

Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP)VII

  • Physical Properties: Colorless to faint yellow viscous liquid; oily liquid; slight characteristics of ester odor
  • Consumption Patterns: Primary use is as a plasticizer in polyvinyl acetate emulsions
  • DBP presents the greatest source of exposure from food. Levels can range from 50 to 500 ppb.
  • DBP has been detected in ambient air at low levels (around 0.01 ppb) and higher levels (0.3 to 0.6 ppb) in urban airs. Higher levels yet can be found in the air in new homes and new cars especially after vinyl floors are first laid.
  • May also be present in drinking water supplies at levels 0.1 to 0.2 ppb.

Diethyl phthalate (DEP) VI

  • Physical Properties: Colorless; oily liquid; very slight aromatic odor
  • Consumption Patterns: 89% in polyvinyl chloride resins; 3% in other vinyl resins; 3% in cellulose ester plastics; 3% in synthetic elastomers and other polymers; 2% in other applications
  • May enter the Environment from air emissions, aqueous effluent and solid waste products from manufacturing and processing plants.
  • An estimated 0.5% of all DEP products are lost during processing.
  • Can be emitted as a vapor during incineration
  • Plastic material in waste disposal sites (landfills) is the major stock of DEP in the environment. Volitization and leaching from these sites can pollute the air, water, and soil.
  • When in the soil DEP will undergo anaerobic biodegradation and may volatilize if found in dry soil.

Bis-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) VIII

  • Physical Properties: Light colored liquid or colorless oily liquid; slight odor
  • Consumption Patterns: Plasticizer for Polyvinyl chloride, 95%; other, 5% (1986) estimated
  • Used as a plasticizer for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and is likely to leach into the air and water during processing and waste disposal.
  • Can bioconcentrate in aquatic organisms.
  • Through heavy rain, DEHP can be transported along distance away from source of pollution
  • Exposure can occur from drinking water, contaminated fish, food wrapped in PVC, and during blood transfusions from PVC blood bags.
  • Case Study: IX
  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Toxic Chemical Release Inventory between 1987 and 1993, DEHP discharge to land and water amounted to over 500,000 lbs., of which over 95% was released onto land. The primary releases were from rubber and plastic hose industries. The largest discharges occurred in Wisconsin and Tennessee.