Dietary intake patterns and relationships to polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) and phthalate body burden

Justin Colacino, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and phthalates are chemicals of concern because of high levels measured in people and the environment as well as the demonstrated toxicity in animal studies and limited epidemiological studies. Exposure to these chemicals has been associated with a range of toxicological outcomes, including developmental effects, behavioral changes, endocrine disruption, effects on sexual health, and cancer. Previous research has shown that both of these classes of chemicals contaminate food in the United States and worldwide. However, how large a role diet plays in exposure to these chemicals is currently unknown. To address this question, an exploratory analysis of data collected as part of the 2003-04 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was conducted. Associations between dietary intake (assessed by 24-hour dietary recalls) for a range of food types (meat, poultry, fish, and dairy) and levels PBDEs and phthalate metabolites were analyzed using multiple linear regression modeling. Levels of individual PBDE congeners 28, 47, 99, 100 as well as total PBDEs were found to be significantly associated with the consumption of poultry. Metabolites of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) were found to be associated with the consumption of poultry, as well as with an increased consumption of fat of animal origin. These results, combined with results from previous studies, suggest that diet is an important route of intake for both PBDEs and phthalates. Further research needs to be conducted to determine the sources of food contamination with these toxic chemicals as well as to describe the levels of contamination of US food in a large, representative sample.

Subject Area

Toxicology|Surgery|Public health|Environmental science

Recommended Citation

Colacino, Justin, "Dietary intake patterns and relationships to polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) and phthalate body burden" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1467642.