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CDC Exposure Data Confirms That DINP and DIDP Not Associated With Mortality

NHANES 2005-2010 Data Helps Support DINP and DIDP’s Continued Safe Use

Sarah Jane Scruggs

WASHINGTON (October 11, 2021) – The American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) High Phthalates Panel issued the following statement in response to Trasande et al’s study claiming exposure to phthalates is linked to early deaths. This can be attributed to Eileen Conneely, Senior Director, Chemical Products & Technology, ACC.

“Much of the content within Trasande et al’s latest study is demonstrably inaccurate. It is our hope Trasande, and others who study phthalates, will take greater efforts to focus on the best practices and principles for high-quality research rather than engage in what can only be called conjecture.

“One such example is that analytical methodology utilized in this study is not typical for the type of data analyzed: NHANES is a cross sectional data set and use of cox models are typically for longitudinal datasets. If using this atypical application, it would be critical to first confirm the assumptions, as inappropriately chosen statistical models may otherwise give rise to misleading conclusions (Bradburn et al., 2003). One example of the failure of this analysis is that the number of deaths predicted by Trasande et al are greater than deaths reported for cerebrovascular and heart disease related deaths by the CDC. For ages 55 – 64 years, the CDC reports that there were 74,473 deaths for heart diseases and 11,727 deaths for cerebrovascular diseases in 2014 for a total of 86,200 cardiovascular deaths. Trasande’s model attributes over 90,000 deaths to phthalates for the same age group in 2014 and if true, would be their second leading cause of death in the US in 2014  (CDC, 2014).

“Importantly, the term “phthalate” refers to a family of chemicals that happen to be structurally similar, but which are functionally and toxicologically distinct from each other. Phthalates are among the most thoroughly studied families of compounds in use and numerous government regulatory agencies, including the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the Australian National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS), and Canada’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and Ministry of Health, have found, after rigorous regulatory review, that high molecular weight phthalates like DINP and DIDP are safe as currently used. In fact, Trasande confirms this point in his study, noting that neither DINP nor DIDP were associated with mortality: “mono-(carboxyoctyl) phthalate and mono-(carboxynonyl) phthalate were not associated with mortality in NHANES 2005–2010” (Table S13).

“While we are encouraged by continuous research efforts into the science and health of phthalates, we are concerned about the over-interpretation of studies that have not established a causal link between DINP and DIDP and human adverse health effects. Studies such as these fail to consider all phthalates individually and consistently ignore or downplay the existence of science-based, authoritative conclusions regarding the safety of high molecular weight phthalates.”

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

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