ISSN 1995-4301
(Print)

ISSN 2618-8406
(Online)

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Phthalates – a strange delusion of ecologists

A.A. Semenov, A.G. Enikeev, T.A. Babenko, T.N. Shafikova, A.G. Gorshkov
Section: Theoretical problems of ecology
The environment is polluted with orthophthalic acid esters (phthalates). There is a steady and generally accepted opinion that the reason for this is human production activities. The global annual production of phthalic esters is estimated at 4.9 million tons. It is believed that part of this amount enters in the environment as a harmful industrial pollutant and has an adverse effect on the health of the human population. However, from a large number of publications it is clear that phthalates, as natural metabolites, are also produced in living nature: bacteria, algae, fungi, plants and other organisms. Dibutyl phthalate and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate are the main ingredients among natural phthalic acid metabolites. The green cover of the planet simultaneously contains these substances many times more than their annual industrial production. The unicellate inhabitants of the oceans, soils, and other planetary spaces make a big contribution to the phthalates entering in the nature. The lifetime of phthalates in the environment is short and their long-term accumulation is impossible. The observed level of these pollutants in the environment is the result of a dynamic equilibrium process with the participation of natural biosynthesis and industrial production, on the one hand, and biota absorption and natural degradation, on the other. The proportion of biosynthesis and degradation in this equilibrium is seen to be predominant. Therefore, the recommended measures and efforts to limit the production and use of o-phthalic acid esters are of little use and make little sense. The observed level is supported by constant feeding from wildlife. Throughout human history, people have received and are receiving phthalates with plant foods without visible consequences. Their harmful effects on the health of the human population are exaggerated. And in the process of evolution, effective endogenous ways of detoxification have been developed.
Keywords: ortho-phthalic acid esters, environment, natural origin
Article published in number 1 for 2021
DOI: 10.25750/1995-4301-2021-1-016-021
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