ToxFAQs™ for Di-n-octylphthalate (DNOP)
Spanish: Di-n-octilftalato (DNOP)
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This fact sheet answers the most frequently asked health questions about di-n-octylphthalate (DNOP). For more information, you may call the ATSDR Information Center at 1-888-422-8737. This fact sheet is one in a series of summaries about hazardous substances and their health effects. It is important you understand this information because this substance may harm you. The effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the dose, the duration, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present.
Exposure to di-n-octylphthalate
occurs mainly from eating food or drinking water that
is stored in plastic containers. The health effects of
breathing, ingesting, or touching di-n-octylphthalate
are not known. This substance has been found in at least
300 of the 1,416 National Priorities List sites identified
by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
What is di-n-octylphthalate?
Di-n-octylphthalate is a colorless,
odorless, oily liquid that doesn't evaporate easily. It is
a man-made substance used to keep plastics soft or more flexible.
This type of plastic can be used for medical tubing and blood
storage bags, wire and cables, carpetback coating, floor tile,
and adhesives. It is also used in cosmetics and pesticides.
What happens to di-n-octylphthalate when it enters the environment?
- Di-n-octylphthalate can be released to water or
air during its manufacture, by leaking from plastics in
landfills, or from the burning of plastic products.
- If di-n-octylphthalate is released into the air,
it may be deposited on the ground or to surface water in
rain or dust particles.
- Di-n-octylphthalate sticks tightly to soil, sediment,
and dust particles.
- Di-n-octylphthalate is mainly broken down into
other substances by microorganisms.
- It can also be broken down in reactions with sunlight,
other chemicals in the atmosphere, or water.
- Small amounts of di-n-octylphthalate can build
up in animals that live in water, such as fish and oysters.
How might I be exposed to di-n-octylphthalate?
- Eating foods stored in containers made with di-n-octylphthalate
that has leaked into the food.
- Receiving blood transfusions, dialysis, or other medical
treatments in which the equipment is made of plastics containing
- Breathing contaminated air, drinking contaminated water,
or touching contaminated soil near hazardous waste sites
or an industrial manufacturing facility that uses or makes
How can di-n-octylphthalate affect my health?
Little information is known about the
health effects that might be caused by di-n-octylphthalate.
It is not known what happens when you breathe or ingest the
Some rats and mice that were given very
high doses of di-n-octylphthalate by mouth died. Mildly
harmful effects have been seen in the livers of some rats
and mice given very high doses of di-n-octylphthalate
by mouth for short (14 days or less) or intermediate periods
(15 to 365 days) of time, but lower doses given for short
periods of time generally caused no harmful effects.
No information is available on the health
effects of having di-n-octylphthalate in contact with
human skin. It can be mildly irritating when applied to the
skin of animals.
It is not known whether or not di-n-octylphthalate
could affect the ability to have children, or if it could
cause birth defects.
How likely is di-n-octylphthalate to cause cancer?
Di-n-octylphthalate is not known
to cause cancer in humans or animals.
Di-n-octylphthalate has not been
classified as to its carcinogenicity by the Department of
Health and Human Services (DHHS), the International Agency
for Research on Cancer (IARC), or the EPA.
Is there a medical test to show whether I've been exposed to di-n-octylphthalate?
Di-n-octylphthalate and its principal
breakdown products can be measured in urine, blood, and tissues.
However, it is not known if they are specific for di-n-octylphthalate
or for how long after exposure occurs the test is useful.
These facts cannot be used to determine how much di-n-octylphthalate
you were exposed to or predict whether harmful effects will
This test is not part of a routine medical
examination, but it can be done by the doctor's request at
Has the federal government made recommendations to protect human health?
The EPA has recently determined that
there is not enough evidence to say that di-n-octylphthalate
causes harmful effects in humans or the environment.
The EPA requires that spills or accidental
releases into the environment of 5,000 pounds or more of di-n-octylphthalate
be reported to the EPA.
Carcinogenicity: Ability to cause cancer.
Evaporate: To change into a vapor or
Ingest: To eat or drink something.
Sediment: Mud and debris that have settled
to the bottom of a body of water.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1997. Toxicological Profile for di-n-octylphthalate. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.
Where can I get more information?
If you have questions or concerns, please contact your community or state health or environmental quality department or:
For more information, contact:
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Office of Innovation and Analytics, Toxicology Section
4770 Buford Highway
Chamblee, GA 30341-3717
Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO 888-232-6348 (TTY)
Email: Contact CDC-INFO
ATSDR can also tell you the location of occupational and environmental health clinics. These clinics specialize in recognizing, evaluating, and treating illnesses resulting from exposure to hazardous substances.