We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
JAMA Pediatrics Patient Page |

Phthalate Exposure and Health Risks FREE

Megan Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH
JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(1):96. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.3319.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are present in many household items. These chemicals are often used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break, and sometimes they are used to dissolve other materials. Phthalates are present in hundreds of products, including vinyl flooring, plastic clothes such as raincoats, and personal care products such as shampoos. In laboratory experiments, women often have higher levels of phthalates compared with men; this is thought to be linked to women’s higher uses of personal products such as lotions, cosmetics, and hair products. Phthalates are often present in children’s toys.

People get close exposure to phthalates by eating and drinking foods that have touched containers and products that are made of phthalates, especially microwaving foods that are in phthalate-laden containers. Young children may have a greater risk of being in contact with phthalates by putting toys or other things that contain phthalates in their mouths.

Once phthalates are in a person’s body, the body breaks them down into products, called metabolites, that pass quickly out in urine.

There are many questions about how phthalates may affect people’s health. Some types of phthalates affected the reproductive system of laboratory animals. Some studies in women have found that exposure to phthalates has been linked to disrupted thyroid hormone levels, increased levels of oxidative stress, and illnesses such as endometriosis and breast cancer. However, how phthalates affect human health and at what levels are still not completely understood.

One risk to health from exposure to phthalates that has been investigated is the risk of preterm birth. A research study in this month’s JAMA Pediatrics issue studied pregnant women’s exposure to phthalates and risk of preterm birth. The study found an increase in the risk of preterm birth for women who had higher phthalate metabolite concentrations in their urine during pregnancy. The researchers concluded that pregnant women may wish to reduce their exposures to phthalates during pregnancy. Phthalate exposure can be reduced by eating fresh foods—foods that are not packaged in cans or plastic. Phthalate exposure may also be reduced during pregnancy by avoiding or limiting the use of cosmetic products such as fragrances, nail polish, body lotions, and hair spray.

Box Section Ref ID

For More Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Phthalates_FactSheet.html


The JAMA Pediatrics Patient Page is a public service of JAMA Pediatrics. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your child’s medical condition, JAMA Pediatrics suggests that you consult your child’s physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 312/464-0776.

Resource: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

See Also...
Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections

The Rational Clinical Examination: Evidence-Based Clinical Diagnosis

The Rational Clinical Examination: Evidence-Based Clinical Diagnosis
Pretest Probabilities and Likelihood Ratios for Clinical Findings