Sentinels of synthetics – a comparison of phthalate exposure between common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and human reference populations

Catégorie : Impacts de la Pollution
Date :27 novembre 2020
Hart, Leslie B.; Dziobak, Miranda K.; Pisarski, Emily C.; Wirth, Edward F.; Wells, Randall S.
PloS one : 15 (DocId: 10)
Phthalates are chemical esters used as additives in common consumer goods, such as plastics, household cleaners, and personal care products. Phthalates are not chemically bound to the items to which they are added and can easily leach into the surrounding environment. Anthropogenic drivers, such as coastal plastic pollution and wastewater runoff, increase the exposure potential for coastal marine fauna. Phthalate exposure in free-ranging bottlenose dolphins has been the focus of recent study, with indications of heightened exposure to certain phthalate compounds. The objective of this study was to compare urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations among bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) sampled in Sarasota Bay, FL, to levels reported in human samples collected as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Monoethyl phthalate (MEP) and mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP) were the most prevalent metabolites detected in dolphin urine (n = 51; MEP = 29.41%; MEHP = 54.90%). The geometric mean (GM) concentration of MEP was significantly lower for dolphins (GM = 4.51 ng/mL; 95% CI: 2.77-7.34 ng/mL) compared to humans (p<0.05), while dolphin concentrations of MEHP (GM = 4.57 ng/mL; 95% CI: 2.37-8.80 ng/mL) were significantly higher than levels reported in NHANES (p<0.05). Health impacts to bottlenose dolphins resulting from elevated exposure to the MEHP parent compound (diethyl-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, DEHP) are currently unknown. However, given the evidence of endocrine disruption, reproductive impairment, and abnormal development in humans, pursuing investigations of potential health effects in exposed bottlenose dolphins would be warranted.