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Regulatory Context

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate DEHP. In addition, several states have specific restrictions on DEHP.

The OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) for DEHP is 5 mg/m3 8-hour time weighted average.

The US EPA regulates DEHP in a number of ways:

  • A maximum contaminant level for ingestion of water and contaminated aquatic organisms (such as fish and shellfish) = 6 parts of DEHP per billion parts of water.
  • Health based limits for exclusion of waste-derived residues = 30 mg/kg.
  • As a hazardous constituent of wastes from cleaning equipment and tanks used in paint manufacturing - hazardous waste number U028.

The US FDA regulates the chemical as an unintentional food additive.

Clean Water Act related regulatory restrictions in New England states include:

  • Massachusetts: Reference dose = 2x10-2 mg/kg/day, oral slope factor = 1.4x10-2 mg/kg/day
  • New Hampshire: Regulated toxic air pollutant = OEL 5 mg/m3
  • Maine: Drinking water guideline 25 µg/L
  • Rhode Island and Vermont: Groundwater quality standard = 6 µg/L, Preventive action limit = 3 µg/L
  • Connecticut: Direct exposure criteria for soil, residential = 44 mg/ kg, industrial/commercial = 410 mg/kg

Finally, DEHP is regulated as a carcinogen (since 1988) and a developmental toxicant (since 2003) under the California State Proposition 65. This regulation requires businesses to provide a "clear and reasonable" warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to DEHP.


Bureau of National Affairs "Environmental Reporter" 2001; California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Chapter 6.6 added by Proposition 65 1986 General Election) Section 25249.5; EPA 2001 40 CFR 141.32(e)(62), 40 CFR 266 Appendix VII, 40 CFR 261.33 and 40 CFR 302.4; Hazardous Substance Data Bank 2000, see: http://www.toxnet.nlm.nih.gov; OSHA 2001b (29 CFR 1910.1000)