Phthalate esters, most commonly referred to as phthalates, are a group of chemicals frequently used to impart exibility and durability to plastics such as polyvinylchloride (PVC) products. Phthalates are ubiquitous chemicals as demonstrated by their presence in a wide variety of industrial and consumer products including medical devices, clothing, enteric coating of medications, food packaging, toys, cosmetics, and building materials among others. Unfortunately, phthalates are not covalently bound to products and are therefore easily released into the environment. Therefore, exposure to humans may occur via oral intake, intravenous infusion, dermal contact, and inhalation (reviewed in Heudorf et al. 2007). Because worldwide use of phthalates has been estimated at 18 billion pounds each year (Blount et al. 2000), the impact of exposure to phthalates on human health has become an important public health issue.
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