Korean J Obstet Gynecol.  2011 Mar;54(3):140-146. 10.5468/KJOG.2011.54.3.140.

An estimate of phthalate exposure among term pregnant women living in Bucheon: The pilot study

  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Bucheon, Korea.
  • 2Department of Preventive Medicine, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. hyp026@cau.ac.kr
  • 3School of Human & Environment, Eulji University, Seongnam, Korea.
  • 4Department of Urology, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Bucheon, Korea.


Phthalates are a group of phthalic acid esters and these are used as plasticizers. Several studies have described phthalate exposure in other countries, but there are no such reports from Korea. We assessed exposure to phthalic acid in the urine of full term pregnant women.
There were 32 full term deliveries in our hospital from August, 2009 to April, 2010. We received approval from the Institutional Review Board at our hospital and written informed concept from all the patients. We review the obstetrics history, the history of medical illness and other problems. To assess exposure to different phthalates, we measured the concentrations of nine phthalate metabolites in the spot urine samples collected 24 hours before delivery. The urinary concentrations of 10 phthalate ester metabolites (mono-methyl phthalate [MMP], mono-ethyl phthalate [MEP], mono-n-butyl phthalate [MnBP], mono benzyl phthalate [MBzP], mono-[2-ethylhexyl] phthalate [MEHP], mono-[2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl] phthalate [MEHHP], mono-[2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl] phthalate [MEOHP], mono-isobutyl phthalate [MiBP], mono-[2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl] phthalate [5cx-MEPP], and mono-[2-carboxymethylhexyl] phthalate [2cx-MMHP]) were analyzed in the spot urine samples collected from the pregnant women. The data is being used as a pilot study for a large multicenter study.
The mean age was 31.1+/-3.2 years. The mean gestational age was 38.4+/-1.3 weeks. The creatinine-corrected concentration (geometric mean: microg/g Cr) was 1.754 (MMP), 3.443 (MEP), 3.839 (MnBP), 2.721 (MBzP), 2.437 (MEHP), 4.042 (MEHHP), 3.504 (MEOHP), 2.805 (MiBP), 3.765 (5cx-MEPP), and 3.775 (2cx-MMHP).
Our data reflects a preliminary description of pregnant women's exposure, before delivery, to phthalates. So, a prospective multicenter study is needed to evaluate phthalate exposure based on our data.


Phthalate; Phthalic acid; Term pregnancy

MeSH Terms

Ethics Committees, Research
Gestational Age
Phthalic Acids
Pilot Projects
Pregnant Women
Phthalic Acids


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