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Determination of Selected Phthalates in Some Commercial Cosmetic Products by HPLC-UV


Emrah Dural*   Pages 1 - 13 ( 13 )


Aim and scope: Due to the serious toxicological risks and their widespread use, quantitative determination of phthalates in cosmetic products have importance for public health. The aim of this study was to develop a validated simple, rapid and reliable high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method for the determination of phthalates which are; dimethyl phthalate (DMP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), di(2- ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), in cosmetic products and to investigate to these phthalate (PHT) levels in 48 cosmetic products marketing in Sivas, Turkey.

Materials and Methods: Separation was achieved by a reverse-phase ACE-5 C18 column (4.6 x 250 mm, 5.0 µm). As the mobile phase, 5 mM KH2PO4 and acetonitrile were used gradiently at 1.5 ml min-1. All PHT esters were detected at 230 nm and the run time was taking 21 minutes.

Results: This method showed the high sensitivity value which limit of quantification (LOQ) values are below 0.64 µg mL-1 of all phthalates. Method linearity was ≥0.999 (r2 ). Accuracy and precision values of all phthalates were calculated between (-6.5) and 6.6 (RE%) and ≤6.2 (RSD%), respectively. Average recovery was between 94.8% and 99.6%. Forty-eight samples used for both babies and adults were successfully analyzed by the developed method. Results shown that, DMP (340.7 μg mL-1 ±323.7), DEP (1852.1 μg mL-1 ± 2192.0), and DBP (691.3 μg mL-1 ± 1378.5) were used highly in nail polish, fragrance and cream products, respectively.

Conclusion: Phthalate esters, which are mostly detected in the content of fragrance, cream and nail polish products and in our research in general, are DEP (1852.1 μg mL-1 ± 2192.0), DBP (691.3 μg mL-1 ± 1378.5) and DMP (340.7 μg mL-1 ±323.7) respectively. Phthalates were found in the content of all 48 cosmetic products examined, and the most detected phthalates in general average was DEP (581.7 μg mL-1 + 1405.2) with a rate of 79.2%. The unexpectedly high phthalate content in the examined cosmetic products revealed a great risk of these products on human health. The developed method is a simple, sensitive, reliable and economical alternative for the determination of phthalates in the content of cosmetic products, it can be used to identify phthalate esters in different products after some modifications.


Phthalates, DEP, DMP, BBP, DBP, DEHP, cosmetics, HPLC-UV, method validation.


Sivas Cumhuriyet University, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Toxicology

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