Skip to content

When we think about air pollution, we usually think about pollutants in the air that we breathe in. But there is a growing body of evidence that some pollutants found in the air, including a group of chemicals called phthalates, can be absorbed directly through the skin (dermal absorption or dermal intake). A recent study has found that the skin absorption of certain phthalates (DERP and DnBP) is comparable to that from inhalation.

Phthalates are linked to a number of negative health effects, and so we should try to minimize our exposure to them.(Oct. 8, 2015 post and Sept. 29, 2015 post). The findings of this study is another strong argument against using scented products in the home, because phthalates are found in fragrances - whether air fresheners, scented candles, perfumes, dryer sheets, etc. Just think of them as indoor air pollution. From Environmental Health Perspectives:

Transdermal Uptake of Diethyl Phthalate and Di(n-butyl) Phthalate Directly from Air: Experimental Verification

Fundamental considerations indicate that, for certain phthalate esters, dermal absorption from air is an uptake pathway that is comparable to or greater than inhalation. Yet this pathway has not been experimentally evaluated and has been largely overlooked when assessing uptake of phthalate esters.This study investigated transdermal uptake, directly from air, of diethyl phthalate (DEP) and di(n-butyl) phthalate (DnBP) in humans.  ...continue reading "We Are Absorbing Some Air Pollutants Through Our Skin"