Phthalates are multifunctional chemicals used in a wide variety of consumer products. The aim of this study was to investigate whether levels of urinary phthalate metabolites in urine samples of Austrian mothers and their children were associated with consumer habits and health indicators. Within an Austrian biomonitoring survey, urine samples from 50 mother-child pairs of five communities (two-stage random stratified sampling) were analysed. The concentrations of 14 phthalate metabolites were determined, and a questionnaire was administered. Monoethyl phthalate (MEP), mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP), mono-isobutyl phthalate (MiBP), monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP), mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP), mono-(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate (5OH-MEHP), mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (5oxo-MEHP), mono-(5-carboxy-2-ethylpentyl) phthalate (5cx-MEPP), and 3-carboxy-mono-propyl phthalate (3cx-MPP) could be quantified in the majority of samples. Significant correlations were found between the use of hair mousse, hair dye, makeup, chewing gum, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and the diethyl phthalate (DEP) metabolite MEP. With regard to health effects, significant associations of MEP in urine with headache, repeated coughing, diarrhoea, and hormonal problems were observed. MBzP was associated with repeated coughing and MEHP was associated with itching.
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