Occupational Exposure to Dibutyl Phthalate Among Manicurists

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To measure manicurists’ exposure to dibutyl phthalate (DBP) at work and to determine whether workplace characteristics influence this exposure. DBP is a reproductive and developmental toxicant in rats and is used in nail polish to hold color and prevent chipping.


Pre- and postshift spot urine samples were collected from 40 manicurists. Linear regression compared the relationship between the log of the cross-shift differences in urinary phthalate monoester metabolite concentrations and use of workplace exposure control methods.


There was a statistically significant cross-shift increase of 17.4 ng/mL in the urinary concentration of mono-n-butyl phthalate, the major metabolite of DBP. Use of gloves reduced mono-n-butyl phthalate concentrations by 15.1 ng/mL below the preshift concentration compared with a 20.5 ng/mL increase if gloves were not worn.


Manicurists are occupationally exposed to DBP and glove use may minimize this exposure.

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