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Sylvia Wolk

Risk Assessment





Phthalate exposure from graphic designs in children’s clothing


Phthalates are commonly used plasticizers added to clothing to increase flexibility and softness. Phthalates pose risk of adverse health impacts, especially to small children due to increased exposure from behavior and body size. 7 phthalates were measured for dermal uptake from 17 different clothing items using silicone rubber samplers (PDMS) over a 72-hour window. Di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP) was found to be most prevalent among samples with a 53% detection rate and a dermal uptake of 0.007-0.93 ug/kg/day, and Di-isononyl phthalate (DiNP) was found to be second most prevalent with a 47% detection rate. Samples were divided based on presence of graphic (plastisol) designs. It was found that there were greater detection rates of target compounds in the samples that had no plastic designs (18-57%) compared to samples that had graphic designs (10-50%). Bis-2-ethylhexyl phthalates (DEHP) was found to be more prevalent in samples that did not have graphic designs in comparison with samples that did have designs; it was also present in lower amounts than DnOP and DiNP, suggesting an industry shift away from DEHP use as a main plasticizer in clothing.

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