Time trend of exposure to the phthalate plasticizer substitute DINCH in Germany from 1999 to 2017: Biomonitoring data on young adults from the Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB)

2019, Journals

Kasper-Sonnenberg, Monika; Koch, Holger M.; Apel, Petra; Rüther, Maria; Pälmke, Claudia; Brüning, Thomas; Kolossa-Gehring, Marike
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health (2019), online 1 August 2019


DINCH (cyclohexane-1,2-dicarboxylic acid-diisononyl ester) is a phthalate plasticizer substitute introduced into the market in 2002. It is increasingly used especially in the production of toys, food contact materials and medical devices. In this measurement campaign on 24-h urine samples of young adults (20–29 years) from the German Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB) collected in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 (in total 300 samples, 60 samples/year) we analyzed three specific, oxidized DINCH metabolites (OH-MINCH: cyclohexane-1,2-dicarboxylic acid-mono(hydroxy-isononyl) ester; cx-MINCH: cyclohexane-1,2-dicarboxylic acid-mono(carboxy-isooctyl) ester, oxo-MINCH: cyclohexane-1,2-dicarboxylic acid-mono(oxo-isononyl) ester). We merged these data with earlier data of the ESB from the years 1999-2012 and are now able to report levels and time trends of internal DINCH exposure from 1999 to 2017.

After first detections of the major oxidized DINCH metabolite OH-MINCH in 2006 (6.7%) detection rates rapidly increased to 43.3% in 2009, 80% in 2010 and 98.3% in 2011 and 2012. From the year 2013 on we could detect OH-MINCH in every urine sample analyzed. The median concentrations of OH-MINCH rapidly increased from 0.15 μg/L in 2010 to twice the concentration in 2011 (0.31 μg/L) with further increases in 2013 (0.37 μg/L), 2015 (0.59 μg/L) and 2017 (0.70 μg/L). Similar increases, albeit at lower detection rates and concentration levels, could be observed for cx-MINCH and oxo-MINCH. All metabolites strongly correlate with each other.

For the ESB study population, DINCH exposures are still far below health based guidance values such as the German Human Biomonitoring Value (HBM-I; 4,500 μg/L for the sum of OH-MINCH and cx-MINCH) or the tolerable daily intake (TDI) of EFSA (1 mg/kg bw/d). The median daily DINCH intake (DI) calculated for 2017 was 0.23 μg/kg bw/d, thus 4,310-times lower than the TDI. The maximum DI calculated for one individual in 2012 (42.60 μg/kg bw/d) was a factor of more than 20 below the TDI.

The ongoing increase in DINCH exposure needs to be closely monitored in the future, including populations with potentially higher exposures such as children. This close monitoring will enable timely exposure and risk reduction measures if exposures reached critical levels, or if new toxicological data lead to lower health based guidance values. DINCH belongs to the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative (HBM4EU) priority substances for which policy relevant questions still have to be answered.

doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2019.07.011