News Analysis

Common Plasticizer Linked to Asthma

The widely used plasticizer DEHP (di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) might be causing asthma, according to a recent study by Norwegian and Danish scientists published in the September 1997 issue of

Environmental Health Perspectives. DEHP is used extensively as a plasticizer in PVC building products. Vinyl sheet flooring, for example, contains about 30% DEHP by weight, and electrical sheathing 40% to 45%, according to chemist Dean Finney with the Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tennessee, one of two manufacturers of DEHP in the United States. The researchers postulate that the dramatic increase in childhood asthma observed in recent years—asthma now affects 11% to 20% of all school-age children, and incidence of the ailment is doubling every 10 to 15 years, according to the paper—might be due to the concurrent increase in the use of plastics in homes during the same period of time.

Published January 1, 1998

(1998, January 1). Common Plasticizer Linked to Asthma. Retrieved from