Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or DEHP is a colorless, oily liquid and notably, with respect to clinical concerns, is soluble in blood and body fluids containing lipoproteins. Despite being listed as a possible human carcinogen in the 1980's, more recent concerns have focused on its potential toxicity as a result of leaching from medical devices into patients via intravenous or enteral routes. Initial discussion of this problem was reported in the medical literature over 20 years ago. This article provides an update on the status of DEHP as a potential reproductive toxin and the potential implications for high-risk population groups (most notably neonates). The use of the precautionary principle for a guidepost in relating human exposure effects to chemical agents, including DEHP, has become a topic relevant to all health care professionals and is discussed herein.

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