Characteristics and health risks of population exposure to phthalates via the use of face towels

Jiamin Pan , Wenhui Zhang , Na Zheng , Sujing Wang , Siyu Sun , Qirui An , Xiaoqian Li , Zimeng Li , Yining Ji , Yunyang Li


Received August 06, 2022,Revised , Accepted October 10, 2022, Available online October 23, 2022

Volume 130,2023,Pages 1-13

The production of face towels is growing at an annual rate of about 4% in China, reaching 1.13 million tons by 2021. Phthalates (PAEs) are widely used in textiles, and face towels, as an important household textile, may expose people to PAEs via the skin, further leading to health risks. We collected new face towels and analyzed the distribution characterization of PAEs in them. The changes of PAEs were explored in a face towel use experiment and a simulated laundry experiment. Based on the use of face towels by 24 volunteers, we calculated the estimated daily intake (EDI) and comprehensively assessed the hazard quotient (HQ), hazard index (HI), and dermal cancer risk (DCR) of PAEs exposure in the population. PAEs were present in new face towels at total concentrations of <MDL–2388 ng/g, with a median of 173.2 ng/g, which was a lower contamination level compared with other textiles. PAE contents in used face towels were significantly higher than in new face towels. The concentrations of PAEs in coral velvet were significantly higher than those in cotton. Water washing removed some PAEs, while detergent washing increased the PAE content on face towels. Gender, weight, use time, and material were the main factors affecting EDI. The HQ and HI were less than 1, which proved PAEs had no significant non-carcinogenic health risks. Among the five target PAEs studied, DEHP was the only carcinogenic PAE and may cause potential health risks after long-term exposure. Therefore, we should pay more attention to DEHP.

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