Plastic films have become an integral part of fruit and vegetable production systems, but their release of phthalate acid esters (PAEs) is a threat to human health. The release kinetics of PAEs and measures of risk are still not well understood. We investigated 50 agricultural films, with concentrations ranging from 2.59 to 282,000 mg kg–1. The seven commercially available film types included were polyvinylchloride (PVC), metallocene polyethylene (mPE), ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), polyolefin (PO), and three mulch films. Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) was detected in most of films, and its release fitted well into the first-order kinetic model. The release rate of DEHP was negatively related to the film thickness. The potential carcinogenic risks of DEHP in the air of six kinds of plastic greenhouses to human health were estimated. We found that the carcinogenic risks associated with PVC and mPE greenhouse films warrant greater attention. Though EVA, PO greenhouse, and mulch films were lower risk, we advise keeping plastic greenhouses well ventilated during the first month of use to reduce direct human exposure to volatile PAEs.
Yu Wang, Fang Wang*, Leilei Xiang, Cheng gang Gu, Marc Redmile-Gordon, Hongjie Sheng, Ziquan Wang, Yuhao Fu, Yongrong Bian, Xin Jiang. Risk Assessment of Agricultural Plastic Films Based on Release Kinetics of Phthalate Acid Esters. Environmental Science & Technology 2021, https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c07008. (Open access).