Molecule of the Week

Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate

April 14, 2008

Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, known by a variety of other names and usually abbreviated DEHP, was patented in 1950 and first used as vacuum pump oil. But since then, it has become the most widely used plasticizer for poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) and other plastics. Recently, relatively high levels of DEHP have been found in foods, especially foods high in oils and fats. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration now restricts its use in packaging materials to water-based foods. The European Commission has banned the use of DEHP and other phthalates in PVC toys.