Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Extramural Research

STAR Researchers Find Phthalate Exposure Related to Obesity

Child on Scale
Mt Sinai researchers have published a paper in the journal Environmental Research called Associations between phthalate metabolite urinary concentrations and body size measures in New York City children. Lead author Susan Teitelbaum indicated that the study was the first to examine the relationship between phthalate exposure and measurements used to identify obesity in children.

Mount Sinai researchers measured phthalate concentrations in the urine of 387 black and Hispanic children in New York City, and recorded body measurements including BMI, height, and waist circumference one year later. The urine tests revealed that greater than 97 percent of study participants had been exposed to phthalates and positive dose response relationships were seen between phthalate concentrations and bodymass index and waist circumference among overweight children.

Phthalates are typically found in plastics, wall coverings, food processing materials, medical devices, personal-care products (perfume, lotions, and cosmetics), varnishes;  medications and nutritional supplement coatings.

Teitelbaum believes that this study further emphasizes the importance of reducing exposure to phthalates, but said that while the data are significant, more research is needed to definitively determine whether phthalate exposure causes increases in body size.

Teitelbaum’s findings on the impact of phthalate exposure add to previous important findings from STAR research on phthalate impacts. In 2008 other STAR researchers found that the use of personal care products was associated with urine phthalate concentrations in infants.  STAR funded research in 2005 was also key in establishing regulatory controls on phthalates due to findings that prenatal exposures caused changes in reproductive development in children.

Teitelbaum’s research was conducted under a STAR research grant which established Mt. Sinai as one of 14 Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers (CEHCs)  funded by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, the National Cancer Institute, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information on this journal publication in Environmental Research see: Associations between phthalate metabolite urinary concentrations and body size measures in New York City children  exit EPA

For more information on this research see: Chemical In Personal Care Products May Contribute To Childhood Obesity  exit EPA
and
Pesticides, Endocrine Disruptors, Childhood Growth and Development (Birth Cohort)

For more information on the STAR Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers see: EPA/NIEHS Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers (CEHCs)

Top of page

Jump to main content.