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General Description

  • Synonyms: bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate; DEHP; Phthalic Acid, bis(2-ethylhexyl)ester; Di-sec octyl phthalate; DOP; Octyl phthalate
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1015
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 117-81-7
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: TI0350000
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Di-sec octyl phthalate: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

  • OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):
  • American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (1996): 5 mg/m3 TWA; A3
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 5 mg/m3 TWA; 10 mg/m3 STEL; Appendix A - NIOSH Potential Occupational Carcinogens (REL listed under Di-sec octyl phthalate)

Health Factors

  • Carcinogenic Classification:
    • NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 5,000 mg/m3
    • Potential Symptoms: Eye, mucous membrane irritation; in animals: liver damage; teratogenic effects; [potential occupational carcinogen]
    • Health Effects: Irritation-Eyes, Nose, Throat---Mild (HE16)
    • Affected Organs: Eyes, respiratory system, CNS, liver, reproductive system, GI tract
    • Notes:
    1. Di-(2-Ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) is an OSHA Select Carcinogen. However, the mechanisms of carcinogenesis (liver tumors) in rats and mice may not be relevant to human exposures.
    2. Endocrine disrupting effects in rats including loss of spermatogenesis in males and anovulation in females, as well as teratogenicity in offspring, have been reported. However, evidence is lacking to indicate that DEHP-induced developmental and reproductive toxicity observed in animals (both sexes) can occur in humans.
    3. DEHP-metabolizing enzymes include lipase, alcohol dehydrogenase, aldehyde dehydrogenase, UDP-glucuronyl transferase, and the cytochrome P450 system.
    4. Five metabolites were quantified in urine after oral administration of labeled DEHP to a human volunteer, who excreted about 75% of the dose in urine in 44 hours. The most abundant metabolite was mono(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl)phthalate (24% of the dose).
    5. EPA's oral reference dose (daily oral exposure likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime) for DEHP is 0.02 mg/kg/day.
  • Literature Basis:
    • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Di-sec octyl phthalate.
    • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate.
    • EPA Air Toxics Website: Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Technology Transfer Network.
    • Foster, P.M.D., Mylchreest, E., Guido, K.W. and Sar, M.: Effects of phthalate esters on the developing reproductive tract of male rats. Human Reprod. Update 7(3): 231-235, 2001.
    • Koch, H.M., Bolt, H.M., Preuss, R. and Angerer, J.: New metabolites of di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) in human urine and serum after single oral doses of deuterium-labelled DEHP. Arch. Toxicol. 79(7): 367-376, 2005.
    • Lovekamp-Swan, T. and Davis, B.J.: Mechanisms of phthalate ester toxicity in the female reproductive system. Environ. Health Perspect. 111(2): 139-145, 2003.
    • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Di(2-Ethylhexyl)phthalate. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 873-876.
    • Shea, K.M. and American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Environmental Health. Pediatric exposure and potential toxicity of phthalate plasticizers. Pediatrics 111(6 Pt. 1): 1467-1474, 2003.
    • Tickner, J.A., Schettler, T., Guidotti, T., McCally, M. and Rossi, M.: Health risks posed by use of di-2-ethyhexyl phthalate (DEHP) in PVC medical devices: a critical review. Am. J. Ind. Med. 39(1): 100-111, 2001.
  • Date Last Revised: 09/06/2005

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • OSHA Versatile Sampler (OVS-Tenax) - 13 mm Tenax Tube (140/70 mg sections) with a glass fiber filter enclosed.
  • analytical solvent: Toluene
  • maximum volume: 240 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 1.0 L/min
  • current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 104)
  • method classification: Fully Validated

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