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Plastic toys as a source of exposure to bisphenol-A and phthalates at childcare facilities

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Infants and toddlers are constantly exposed to toys at childcare facilities. Toys are made of a variety of plastics that often use endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates as their building blocks. The goal of this study was to assess the non-dietary exposure of infants and toddlers to BPA and phthalates via leaching. We have successfully developed wipe tests to evaluate the leachability of BPA and phthalates from toys used at several day care facilities in Philadelphia. Our studies have shown an average leaching of 13–280 ng/cm2 of BPA and phthalates. An estimate of total exposure of infants to BPA and phthalates is reported. The leaching of the chemicals was observed to be dependent on the washing procedures and the location of the day care facilities. Using bleach/water mixture two or more times a week to clean the toys seems to reduce the leaching of chemicals from the toys. There is a huge data gap in the estimated intake amounts and reported urinary concentrations; this is the first study that provides valuable information to address these data gaps in the existing literature.

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Laboratory assistance by Victoria Goldman, Irene Pais, Grace Oey, Amy Brown, Katie Fenlon, and Ekaterina Rokhina is acknowledged.


This research was partially supported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) Region 3 (grant number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2010-3) and National Science Foundation (NSF)–Water and Environmental Technology (WET) Center and Temple University. Opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed in this paper are of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of US-EPA, NSF-WET Center, or Temple University.

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Correspondence to Rominder Suri.

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Andaluri, G., Manickavachagam, M. & Suri, R. Plastic toys as a source of exposure to bisphenol-A and phthalates at childcare facilities. Environ Monit Assess 190, 65 (2018).

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