Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 9005–9013 | Cite as

Levels of phthalate acid esters and sex hormones and their possible sources in traffic-patrol policemen in Chongqing

  • Lu Lu
  • Honghui Rong
  • Chong Wu
  • Bo Cui
  • Yujing Huang
  • Yao Tan
  • Ling Zhang
  • Yi Peng
  • Jose M. GarciaEmail author
  • Ji-an ChenEmail author
Research Article


To investigate the correlation between the air phthalate acid ester (PAE) exposure and serum PAE concentration and the effects of PAE exposure on reproductive health among Chongqing traffic-patrol policemen. In 2013, 32 traffic-patrol policemen working in an area with poor air quality in Chongqing and 28 traffic-patrol policemen working in an area with good air quality were selected. Their blood levels of 14 PAEs and six reproductive hormones were determined. Air samples were collected from four traffic-patrol platforms. The concentrations of 14 PAEs in the air samples were evaluated. All 14 PAEs were detected in the blood samples. The concentrations of seven PAEs in the total suspended particulate, namely, dimethyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate, dibutyl phthalate, bis (2-ethox-yethyl) phthalate, dihexyl phthalate, benzyl butyl phthalate, and bis (2-n-butoxyethyl) phthalate, were positively and significantly associated with the blood levels of these PAEs in the participants. All the sex hormone levels measured here were significantly different between the participants from the two areas. The PAE concentrations in the blood samples were correlated with the reproductive hormone levels in the participants. Air PAE pollution may be a major source of PAE exposure in the traffic-patrol policemen of Chongqing.


Phthalate acid esters Traffic-patrol policemen Reproductive health 



The authors acknowledge all the traffic-patrol policemen who participated in this study.


This project was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 81072262 and 81372944).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We declare that this study has no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4265_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 16 kb)
11356_2019_4265_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (910 kb)
ESM II Chongqing municipality of the environmental report 2013 (page 5) (PDF 910 kb)
11356_2019_4265_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (144 kb)
ESM III Orientations of five functional areas in Chongqing (PDF 144 kb)


  1. Chen JA, Liu H, Qiu Z, Shu W (2008) Analysis of di-n-butyl phthalate and other organic pollutants in Chongqing women undergoing parturition. Environ Pollut 156:849–853. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Christiansen S, Boberg J, Axelstad M, Dalgaard M, Vinggaard AM, Metzdorff SB, Hass U (2010) Low-dose perinatal exposure to di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate induces anti-androgenic effects in male rats. Reprod Toxicol 30:313–321. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Das MT, Ghosh P, Thakur IS (2014) Intake estimates of phthalate esters for South Delhi population based on exposure media assessment. Environ Pollut 189:118–125. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Duty SM, Silva MJ, Barr DB, Brock JW, Ryan L, Chen Z, Herrick RF, Christiani DC, Hauser R (2003) Phthalate exposure and human semen parameters. Epidemiology 14:269–277Google Scholar
  5. Duty SM, Calafat AM, Silva MJ, Ryan L, Hauser R (2005) Phthalate exposure and reproductive hormones in adult men. Hum Reprod 20:604–610. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fenton SE (2006) Endocrine-disrupting compounds and mammary gland development: early exposure and later life consequences. Endocrinology 147:S18–S24. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fu P, Kawamura K, Pavuluri C, Swaminathan T, Chen J (2010) Molecular characterization of urban organic aerosol in tropical India: contributions of primary emissions and secondary photooxidation. Atmos Chem Phys 10:2663–2689. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gavala HN, Alatriste-Mondragon F, Iranpour R, Ahring BK (2003) Biodegradation of phthalate esters during the mesophilic anaerobic digestion of sludge. Chemosphere 52:673–682. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hauser R, Williams P, Altshul L, Calafat AM (2005) Evidence of interaction between polychlorinated biphenyls and phthalates in relation to human sperm motility. Environ Health Perspect 113:425–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hauser R, Meeker JD, Duty S, Silva MJ, Calafat AM (2006) Altered semen quality in relation to urinary concentrations of phthalate monoester and oxidative metabolites. Epidemiology 17:682–691. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hess-Wilson JK, Knudsen KE (2006) Endocrine disrupting compounds and prostate cancer. Cancer Lett 241:1–12. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hotchkiss AK, Ostby JS, Vandenburgh JG, Gray LE Jr (2002) Androgens and environmental antiandrogens affect reproductive development and play behavior in the Sprague-Dawley rat. Environ Health Perspect 110(Suppl 3):435–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. HS B (2006) Clinical research of factors for premature labor and preventing premature labor. China J Mod Med 16:1096–1098Google Scholar
  14. Huang Y, Li J, Garcia JM, Lin H, Wang Y, Yan P, Wang L, Tan Y, Luo J, Qiu Z, Chen JA, Shu W (2014) Phthalate levels in cord blood are associated with preterm delivery and fetal growth parameters in Chinese women. PLoS One 9:e87430. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jonsson BA, Richthoff J, Rylander L, Giwercman A, Hagmar L (2005) Urinary phthalate metabolites and biomarkers of reproductive function in young men. Epidemiology 16:487–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kamal A, Qamar K, Gulfraz M, Anwar MA, Malik RN (2015) PAH exposure and oxidative stress indicators of human cohorts exposed to traffic pollution in Lahore city (Pakistan). Chemosphere 120:59–67. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Li S, Dai J, Zhang L, Zhang J, Zhang Z, Chen B (2011) An association of elevated serum prolactin with phthalate exposure in adult men. Biomed Environ Sci 24:31–39. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Liu LBLJ, Zhang H, Feng LJ, Wang XY (2008) The clinical management of preterm premature rupture of membrane: to delivery or not. Chin J Obs/Gyne Pediat 4:46–49Google Scholar
  19. Meeker JD, Calafat AM, Hauser R (2009) Urinary metabolites of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate are associated with decreased steroid hormone levels in adult men. J Androl 30:287–297. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pan G, Hanaoka T, Yoshimura M, Zhang S, Wang P, Tsukino H, Inoue K, Nakazawa H, Tsugane S, Takahashi K (2006) Decreased serum free testosterone in workers exposed to high levels of di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP): a cross-sectional study in China. Environ Health Perspect 114:1643–1648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pant N, Shukla M, Kumar Patel D, Shukla Y, Mathur N, Kumar Gupta Y, Saxena DK (2008) Correlation of phthalate exposures with semen quality. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 231:112–116. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Psillakis E, Mantzavinos D, Kalogerakis N (2004) Monitoring the sonochemical degradation of phthalate esters in water using solid-phase microextraction. Chemosphere 54:849–857. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rose RJ, Priston MJ, Rigby-Jones AE, Sneyd JR (2012) The effect of temperature on di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate leaching from PVC infusion sets exposed to lipid emulsions. Anaesthesia 67:514–520. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Růžičková J, Raclavská H, Raclavský K, Juchelková D (2016) Phthalates in PM2.5 airborne particles in the Moravian-Silesian region, Czech Republic. Perspect Sci 7:178–183.
  25. Salapasidou M, Samara C, Voutsa D (2011) Endocrine disrupting compounds in the atmosphere of the urban area of Thessaloniki, Greece. Atmos Environ 45:3720–3729. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Salgueirogonzález N, López d AM, Muniateguilorenzo S et al (2013) Determination of 13 estrogenic endocrine disrupting compounds in atmospheric particulate matter by pressurised liquid extraction and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Anal Bioanal Chem 405:8913–8923. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Shakya KM, Rupakheti M, Aryal K, Peltier RE (2016) Respiratory effects of high levels of particulate exposure in a cohort of traffic police in Kathmandu, Nepal. J Occup Environ Med 58:e218–e225. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. State Environmental Protection (2005) Ambient air-determination of Total suspended particulates-gravimetric method (GB/T 15432-1995). BeijingGoogle Scholar
  29. Teil MJ, Moreau-Guigon E, Blanchard M, Alliot F, Gasperi J, Cladière M, Mandin C, Moukhtar S, Chevreuil M (2016) Endocrine disrupting compounds in gaseous and particulate outdoor air phases according to environmental factors. Chemosphere 2016(146):94–104. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tian HJ, Shu WQ, Zhang XK (2003) Organic pollutants in source water in Jialing River and Yangtze River (Chongqing section). Resources and Environment in the Yangtze Basin 12:18–123 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  31. Vitali M, Guidotti M, Macilenti G, Cremisini C (1997) Phthalate esters in freshwaters as markers of contamination sources—a site study in Italy. Environ Int 23:337–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. von Rettberg H, Hannman T, Subotic U, Brade J, Schaible T, Waag KL, Loff S (2009) Use of di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate-containing infusion systems increases the risk for cholestasis. Pediatrics 124:710–716. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wang P, Wang S, Fan CQ (2008) Atmospheric distribution of particulate- and gas-phase phthalic esters (PAEs) in a Metropolitan City, Nanjing, East China. Chemosphere 72:1567–1572. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wang W, Zhang Y, Wang S, Fan CQ, Xu H (2012) Distributions of phthalic esters carried by total suspended particulates in Nanjing, China. Environ Monit Assess 184:6789–6798. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wensing M, Uhde E, Salthammer T (2005) Plastics additives in the indoor environment—flame retardants and plasticizers. Sci Total Environ 339:19–40. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wirth JJ, Rossano MG, Potter R, Puscheck E, Daly DC, Paneth N, Krawetz SA, Protas BM, Diamond MP (2008) A pilot study associating urinary concentrations of phthalate metabolites and semen quality. Syst Biol Reprod Med 54:143–154. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zeng F, Lin Y, Cui K, Wen J, Ma Y, Chen H, Zhu F, Ma Z, Zeng Z (2010) Atmospheric deposition of phthalate esters in a subtropical city. Atmos Environ 44:834–840. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zhu Z, Ji Y, Zhang S, Zhao J, Zhao J (2016) Phthalate ester concentrations, sources, and risks in the ambient air of Tianjin, China. Aerosol Air Qual Res 16:2294–2301. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lu Lu
    • 1
  • Honghui Rong
    • 1
  • Chong Wu
    • 2
  • Bo Cui
    • 1
  • Yujing Huang
    • 3
  • Yao Tan
    • 3
  • Ling Zhang
    • 1
  • Yi Peng
    • 1
  • Jose M. Garcia
    • 4
    Email author
  • Ji-an Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Health EducationArmy Medical University (Third Military Medical University)ChongqingChina
  2. 2.Academic Affairs of Army Medical University (Third Military Medical University)ChongqingChina
  3. 3.Department of Environmental HygieneArmy Medical University (Third Military Medical University)ChongqingChina
  4. 4.GRECCVA Puget Sound Health Care System and University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations