Phthalates, Pesticides, and Bisphenol-A Exposure and the Development of Nonoccupational Asthma and Allergies: How Valid Are the Links?

Eun Soo Kwak1, Allan Just2, Robin Whyatt2, Rachel L. Miller*, 1, 2
1 Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Sur-geons, USA
2 Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

© 2009 Kwak et al;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the PH8 E, 610 W. 168th St, New York, NY, 10032, USA; Tel: 212-305-7759; Fax: 212-305-2277; E-mail:


Phthalates, pesticides, and bisphenol-A (BPA) are three groups of chemicals, implicated in endocrine disruption and commonly found in the local environment, that have been implicated in the pathogenesis of asthma and allergies [1-3]. Multiple observational studies have demonstrated an association between exposure to phthalates and the development of asthma and allergies in humans. Associations with exposure to pesticides and BPA and the development of respiratory disease are less clear. However, recent evidence suggests that prenatal or early postnatal exposure to BPA may be deleterious to the developing immune system. Future cohort-driven epidemiological or translational research should focus on determining whether these ubiquitous chemicals contribute to the development of asthma and allergies in humans, and attempt to establish the routes and mechanisms by which they operate. Determining dose-response relationships will be important to establishing safe levels of these chemicals in the environment and in consumer products. Attempts to reduce exposures to chemicals such as phthalates, pesticides, and BPA may have environmental repercussions as well as public health impact for the developing child.