Environ Health Toxicol.  2016 ;31(1):e2016011. 10.5620/eht.e2016011.

Risk assessment of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate in the workplace

Affiliations
  • 1Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute, Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, Daejeon, Korea. 1989135@kosha.or.kr

Abstract


OBJECTIVES
A hazard assessment of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), a commonly used workplace chemical, was conducted in order to protect the occupational health of workers. A literature review, consisting of both domestic and international references, examined the chemical management system, working environment, level of exposure, and possible associated risks. This information may be utilized in the future to determine appropriate exposure levels in working environments.
METHODS
Hazard assessment was performed using chemical hazard information obtained from international agencies, such as Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development-generated Screening Information Data Set and International Program on Chemical Safety. Information was obtained from surveys conducted by the Minister of Employment and Labor ("Survey on the work environment") and by the Ministry of Environment ("Survey on the circulation amount of chemicals"). Risk was determined according to exposure in workplaces and chemical hazard.
RESULTS
In 229 workplaces over the country, 831 tons of DEHP have been used as plasticizers, insecticides, and ink solvent. Calculated 50% lethal dose values ranged from 14.2 to 50 g/kg, as determined via acute toxicity testing in rodents. Chronic carcinogenicity tests revealed cases of lung and liver degeneration, shrinkage of the testes, and liver cancer. The no-observed-adverse-effect level and the lowest-observed-adverse-effect level were determined to be 28.9 g/kg and 146.6 g/kg, respectively. The working environment assessment revealed the maximum exposure level to be 0.990 mg/m³, as compared to the threshold exposure level of 5 mg/m³. The relative risk of chronic toxicity and reproductive toxicity were 0.264 and 0.330, respectively, while the risk of carcinogenicity was 1.3, which is higher than the accepted safety value of one.
CONCLUSIONS
DEHP was identified as a carcinogen, and may be dangerous even at concentrations lower than the occupational exposure limit. Therefore, we suggest management of working environments, with exposure levels below 5 mg/m³ and all workers utilizing local exhaust ventilation and respiratory protection when handling DEHP.

Keyword

Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate; Risk assessment; Dose-response

MeSH Terms

Carcinogenicity Tests
Chemical Safety
Clergy
Dataset
Diethylhexyl Phthalate
Employment
Humans
Ink
Insecticides
International Agencies
Liver
Liver Neoplasms
Lung
Mass Screening
No-Observed-Adverse-Effect Level
Occupational Exposure
Occupational Health
Plasticizers
Plastics
Risk Assessment*
Rodentia
Testis
Toxicity Tests, Acute
Ventilation
Diethylhexyl Phthalate
Insecticides
Plasticizers
Plastics
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