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PVC Flooring - A Source for Phthalates Uptake in Pregnant Women

Published on 2018-10-25. Author : SpecialChem

TAGS:  PVC, Plasticizers and Sustainability    

A new study in the SELMA project at Karlstad University, Sweden, shows that flooring material of soft PVC in the home is a source for uptake of phthalates in pregnant women, phthalates that are considered dangerous in the EU chemical regulation system.

Investigation to Study Phthalates Exposure

PVC-phthalates-pregnant
A new study at Karlstad University shows that PVC in the home
is a source for uptake of phthalates in pregnant women

PVC flooring often contain phthalates to make the plastic soft. Such plasticizers are not firmly bonded to the material but slowly leak to the environment during the entire life of the material and can therefore be routinely measured in indoor dust and air. One question then arises whether flooring materials made of softened PVC in the home can give rise to uptake of such chemicals in humans. This question has now been investigated in the SELMA study at Karlstad University.

The SELMA Study


The SELMA study follows about 2,000 mother-child pairs from early pregnancy over childbirth and up to school age for the children. The overall purpose of SELMA is to investigate how exposure to suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals (e.g., phthalates) during pregnancy can affect children's health and development.

In the current study, the scientists collected information about the home using a survey of the families during early pregnancy. One question was about which flooring materials were found in the bedrooms and kitchen. At the same time, the pregnant woman's urine was analyzed for the contents of metabolites from 7 phthalates. The study included 1,764 women and the analyzes were adjusted for important background factors.

Higher Levels of Phthalates


Analyzes show that pregnant women living in PVC-floored homes had higher levels of metabolites from three phthalates (DBP, BBzP and DEHP) when compared to women living in homes with other floor materials such as wood and linoleum. There was also indication for a dose-response relationship, i.e., the more rooms with PVC floors, the higher the levels of these phthalate metabolites in the urinary pregnant women's urine.

We know that the three phthalates DBP, BBzP and DEHP are used in PVC flooring materials, but also in many other products," said Huan Shu, PhD in public health sciences at Stockholm University, and principal author of the study. However, many older phthalates such as DEHP have today been replaced with other plasticizers in PVC.


Source: Karlstad University
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