20 Facts About DEHP


DEHP is the most common member of the class of phthalates, which are used as plasticizers.

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DEHP is a component of many household items, including tablecloths, floor tiles, shower curtains, garden hoses, rainwear, dolls, toys, shoes, medical tubing, furniture upholstery, and swimming pool liners.

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DEHP is an indoor air pollutant in homes and schools.

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The most common exposure to DEHP comes through food with an average consumption of 0.

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Fatty foods that are packaged in plastics that contain DEHP are more likely to have higher concentrations such as milk products, fish or seafood, and oils.

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US FDA Europe California

The US FDA therefore permits use of DEHP-containing packaging only for foods that primarily contain water.

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DEHP is the most common phthalate plasticizer in medical devices such as intravenous tubing and bags, IV catheters, nasogastric tubes, dialysis bags and tubing, blood bags and transfusion tubing, and air tubes.

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DEHP makes these plastics softer and more flexible and was first introduced in the 1940s in blood bags.

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In July 2002, the U S FDA issued a Public Health Notification on DEHP, stating in part, "We recommend considering such alternatives when these high-risk procedures are to be performed on male neonates, pregnant women who are carrying male fetuses, and peripubertal males" noting that the alternatives were to look for non-DEHP exposure solutions; they mention a database of alternatives.

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When DEHP is ingested intestinal lipases convert it to MEHP, which then is absorbed.

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Rodent studies and human studies have shown DEHP to be a possible disruptor of thyroid function, which plays a key role in energy balance and metabolism.

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Exposure to DEHP has been associated with lower plasma thyroxine levels and decreased uptake of iodine in thyroid follicular cells.

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Cells treated with DEHP exhibited fractured wave fronts with slow propagation speeds.

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Also, DEHP caused down regulation of several growth factors, such as angiotensinogen, transforming growth factor-beta, vascular endothelial growth factor C and A, and endothelial-1.

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DEHP has been shown, in vitro using cardiac muscle cells, to cause activation of PPAR-alpha gene, which is a key regulator in lipid metabolism and peroxisome proliferation; both of which can be involved in atherosclerosis and hyperlipidemia, which are precursors of cardiovascular disease.

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DEHP is a possible cancer causing agent in humans, although human studies remain inconclusive, due to the exposure of multiple elements and limited research.

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In vitro and rodent studies indicate that DEHP is involved in many molecular events, including increased cell proliferation, decreased apoptosis, oxidative damage, and selective clonal expansion of the initiated cells; all of which take place in multiple sites of the human body.

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DEHP has now been classified as a Category 1B reprotoxin, and is on the Annex XIV of the European Union's REACH legislation.

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DEHP has been phased out in Europe under REACH and can only be used in specific cases if an authorization has been granted.

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DEHP is classified as a "chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm" under the terms of Proposition 65.

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