• Phthalate esters;
  • Indoor pollution;
  • House dust;
  • Plasticizers;
  • Human exposure;
  • Chemical additives


Phthalates are semivolatile organic compounds with a ubiquitous environmental distribution. Their presence in indoor environments is linked to their use in a variety of consumer products such as children's toys, cosmetics, food packaging, flexible PVC flooring among others. The goal of this study was to investigate the occurrence and concentration of phthalates in dust from homes in Kuwait and to assess non-dietary human exposure to these phthalates. Dust samples were randomly collected from 21 homes and analyzed for eight phthalates. The concentrations of total phthalates were log normally distributed and ranged from 470 to 7800 μg/g. Five phthalates [Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), Di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP), Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), Benzyl butyl phthalate (BzBP), and Dicyclohexyl phthalate (DcHP)] were routinely detected. The major phthalate compound was DEHP at a geometric mean concentration of 1704 μg/g (median, 2256 μg/g) accounting for 92% of the total phthalates measured. Using the measured concentrations and estimates of dust ingestion rates for children and adults, estimated human non-dietary exposure based on median phthalate concentrations ranged from 938 ng/kg-bd/day for adults to 13362 ng/kg-bd/day for toddlers. The difference in exposure estimates between children and adults in this study supports previous reports that children are at greater risk from pollutants that accumulate indoors.