Elsevier LogoPhthalates are claimed to be imperative components of several consumer products, counting toys, cleaning materials, plastics, and personal care items. Studies to date on phthalates have apparently been incoherent, with a few connecting exposure to these chemicals to various issues like hormone disruptions, birth defects, asthma, and reproductive problems, while others have supposedly not discovered any significant association between exposure and unfavorable effects.

A new study by Korean scientists apparently contributes to likely disturbing findings about phthalates. They supposedly gauged urine phthalate concentrations and assessed symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by means of teacher-reported symptoms and mechanized exams that gauged attention and impulsivity.

They supposedly discovered an important affirmative relationship between phthalate exposure and ADHD, thereby implying that apparently more the dilution of phthalate metabolites in the urine, the worse the ADHD symptoms and/or examination scores.

Senior author Yun-Chul Hong, MD, PhD, explained, “These data represent the first documented association between phthalate exposure and ADHD symptoms in school-aged children. This emerging link between phthalates and symptoms of ADHD raises the concern that accidental environmental exposure to phthalates may be contributing to behavioral and cognitive problems in children. This concern calls for more definitive research.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the Summary of their 2005 Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, state, “Very limited scientific information is available on potential human health effects of phthalates at levels” found in the U.S. population.”

Even though this study was conducted in a Korean population, their levels of exposure are expected to be similar to a U.S. population. The present findings apparently do not establish that phthalate exposure caused ADHD symptoms. Nevertheless, these preliminary results supposedly offer a foundation for additional study on this relationship.

The study was published in Biological Psychiatry.