Occurrence of Phthalates and Their Metabolites in the Environment and Human Health Implications

  • Mario Antonio Fernández
  • Belén Gómara
  • María José GonzálezEmail author
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 20)


Phthalates are chemicals that have been used for over 80 years in large quantities due to their wide range of applications, mainly in the plastic industry. For many years, these compounds were not considered dangerous for humans due to their low toxicity shown in the preliminary studies and their low persistence. However, research conducted in recent years has evidenced their activity as endocrine disruptors, and they are now considered as emerging contaminants and included in the priority list of dangerous substances in the legislation of many countries. This chapter provides an overview on the properties, major uses, emission sources, environmental and human levels, current legislation, behavior and fate of phthalates, and their metabolites, with special emphasis on their toxicity and human exposure.


Environmental levels Human exposure Phthalates Properties Toxicity 



Authors thank MICINN (AGL2009-09733) and CM (P2009/AGR-1464) for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mario Antonio Fernández
    • 1
  • Belén Gómara
    • 1
  • María José González
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Instrumental Analysis and Environmental Chemistry DepartmentGeneral Organic Chemistry Institute, CSICMadridSpain

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