Chapter 5. Phthalate exposure in children: Assessing knowledge, attitudes and behaviors in families with low socioeconomic status


Rachana Charla, David Collier, MD PhD, Melissa Johnson, MPH, Brittany Meier, MA, Andrew Binder, PhD, and Katlyn May, MS
Center for Human Health and the Environment, Brody School of Medicine,
East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, United States of America

Part of the book: Environmental Health: Poverty, Race and Child Health in the Time of COVID-19


Phthalates are a family of synthetic chemicals used in the manufacturing of plastic products, scented products, and personal care products. Exposure to phthalates is a concern as they are considered endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Here we employed a survey to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors (KAB) related to phthalates and the use of personal care products that may contain phthalates among 50 parents and caregivers with children no more than five years old at the Brody School of Medicine’s Pediatric Outpatient Clinic found at East Carolina University. We found significant relationships between race and product usage with Black respondents more likely to use spray air fresheners, lotions, and candles compared to the non-Black respondents. Additionally, there were significant correlations between income and education level regarding knowledge and recognition of terms like phthalates. Low socioeconomic status (SES) and lack of knowledge notably affect potential phthalate exposure in children from personal care products as well as cleaning products. Further studies are needed to confirm the significance of these observations.


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