Study on the leaching of phthalates from polyethylene terephthalate bottles into mineral water

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Carbonated and non-carbonated mineral water samples bottled in 0.5-L, 1.5-L and 2.0-L polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers belonging to three different water brands commercialized in Hungary were studied in order to determine their phthalate content by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Among the six investigated phthalates, diisobutyl phthalate, di-n-butyl-phthalate, benzyl-butyl phthalate and di(2-ethyl-hexyl) phthalate (DEHP) were determined in non-carbonated samples as follows: <3.0ngL-1-0.2μgL-1, <6.6ngL-1-0.8μgL-1, <6.0ngL-1-0.1μgL-1 and <16.0ngL-1-1.7μgL-1, respectively. Any of the above-mentioned phthalate esters could be detected in carbonated mineral water samples. DEHP was the most abundant phthalate in the investigated samples. It could be detected after 44days of storage at 22°C and its leaching was the most pronounced when samples were stored over 1200days. Mineral water purchased in PET bottles of 0.5L had the highest phthalate concentrations compared to those obtained for waters of the identical brand bottled in 1.5-L or 2.0-L PET containers due to the higher surface/volume ratio. No clear trend could be established for phthalate leaching when water samples were kept at higher temperatures (max. 60°C) showing improper storage conditions. Phthalate determination by pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometric measurements in the plastic material as well as in the aqueous phase proved the importance of the quality of PET raw material used for the production of the pre-form (virgin vs. polymer containing recycled PET).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-458
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2013


  • Bottled water
  • Carbonated
  • DEHP
  • Non-carbonated
  • PET
  • Solar water disinfection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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