Aarhus University Seal

Childhood exposure to DEHP, DBP and BBP under existing chemical management systems: A comparative study of sources of childhood exposure in Korea and in Denmark

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Jihyun Lee, Denmark
  • Jong-Hyeon Lee, Korea, Republic of
  • Chan-Kook Kim, Korea, Republic of
  • Marianne Thomsen
In this paper, the cumulative risks of Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), and Benzylbutyl phthalate (BBP) to 2-year-old children in two countries: one European (Denmark) and one Asian (South Korea) were compared. Denmark does not produce phthalates as a raw material, while Korea produces more than 0.4 million tons of the three above-mentioned phthalates each year. First, a comparative review of the existing phthalate regulations in the two countries was performed. Next, the level of childhood phthalate exposure from environmental and food sources was estimated using an exposure scenario approach. Then, the scenario based exposure level was compared with back-calculated exposure levels based on biomonitored urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations. The result verifies the existence of varying territorial human background exposure levels and the gap between exposure estimations based on exposure modeling and biomonitoring data. Cumulative childhood risk levels in Denmark were lower than in Korea. For both countries, risk levels from back calculation were higher than those from scenario estimation. The median cumulative risk levels from scenario estimation and back calculation respectively were 0.24 and up to 0.5 in Denmark while 0.52 and up to 0.95 in Korea. Food and indoor dust were the main exposure sources for all three phthalates. In order to protect human health from cumulative risks of these phthalates, the exposure scenarios in existing regulations such as the EU REACH need to be strengthened. Moreover, based on the contributions from different exposure sources, national specific risk management tools need to be developed and strengthened, applying a systemic approach to promote sustainable material flows.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment International
Pages (from-to)77-91
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

    Research areas

  • Childhood exposure, Exposure scenario approach (ESA), Back-calculation approach (BCA), phthalates, cumulative risk assessment

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats



ID: 59794491