Phthalate ester toxicity in human cell cultures

Adelaide E. Jones, Raymond H. Kahn, John T. Groves, Edward A. Napier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate and butyl glycolyl butyl phthalate, plasticizers which can be leached into blood from polyvinyl chloride-containing medical devices, cause significant growth inhibition in cultures of the human diploid cell strain WI-38. The ID50 (dose which causes 50% growth inhibition in tissue culture) values for di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate and butyl glycolyl butyl phthalate were 70 μm and 12 μm, respectively, for WI-38 cells. Toxic effects were greater in a replicating cell population than in a nonreplicating, confluent cell layer. WI-38 cells which were grown in 160 μm di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate for 3 days, and subsequently subcultured into control medium, showed only 60% of control growth after 5 days in control medium. Cells treated with 14 μm butyl glycolyl butyl phthalate for 3 or 5 days exhibited growth equivalent to the controls when subcultured into control medium. Toxic levels for di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate were within the range of concentrations found in blood which has been stored in polyvinyl chloride blood bags for up to 21 days at 4°C. ID50 values were reported for several other phthalate esters and for two nonphthalide compounds which are leachable from certain polyvinyl chloride plastic medical devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-289
Number of pages7
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1975
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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