Estimating the risk of phthalates exposure via tea consumption in general population

Mohammad Mehdi Amin, Foruz Rastegari, Parinaz Poursafa, Karim Ebrahim


Four common phthalic acid esters (PAEs) levels in tea fusions samples prepared from three types of tea bags (green, black and white) of ten commercial brands were extracted from the infusions by a dispersive liquid-liquid micro extraction method and determined by GC-MS.

PAEs were not found in white tea samples. Residue levels of total phthalic acid esters (TPAEs) in black and green teas showed no significant difference (median=367.5, Interquartile range=244.7-667.5 and median=381, Interquartile range=188.7-688.2µg/kg respectively). DEHP levels in green teas were significantly higher than those in black teas (Median= 93.5 and 204 respectively).  Total phthalate esters (TPAEs) levels in flavored teas were about two-fold higher than in non-flavored teas. The four commercial brands tested contain significant levels of DEHP when compared to other brands. Essential oils and essences that were added to tea for improvement of color and taste could be the main sources of PAEs contamination. 

If oral absorption of phthalates were assumed to be 100%, the maximum daily exposure levels to TPAEs via tea consumption (due to consumption of 5 cups of tea prepared from the tea containing the highest levels TPAEs) were estimated to be 230e-4 μg/kg bw/Day, which are far lower than the regulation levels set by the expert panels on regularly toxicity.


phthalates; tea; exposure assessment

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