Social Disparities in Phthalate Exposures: Implications for Women’s Health

March 23, 2017
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources

Dr. Ami Zota's Slides: Social Disparities in Phthalate Exposures: Implications for Women's Health

Dr. Ami Zota's Research Page.

Related research

  1. James-Todd T.M., Chiu Y.H., and Zota A.R. Racial/ethnic disparities in environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals and women’s reproductive health outcomes: epidemiological examples across the life course. Current Epidemiology Reports 2016: 3(2): 161-180. doi: 10.1007/s40471-016-0073-9. Epub 2016 Mar 31.
  2. Varshavsky J.R.*, Zota A.R., Woodruff T.J. A novel method for calculating potency-weighted cumulative phthalate exposure with implications for identifying racial/ethnic disparities among U.S. reproductive-aged women in NHANES 2001-2012. Environmental Science & Technology 2016, 50(19):10616-10624. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.6b00522.
  3. Zota A.R., Phillips C., and Mitro S.D. Recent fast food consumption and Bisphenol A and phthalates exposures among the US population in NHANES, 2003 – 2010. Environmental Health Perspectives 2016: 124(10):1521-1528. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1510803.
  4. Branch F.*, Woodruff T.J., Mitro S.D., Zota A.R. Vaginal douching and racial/ethnic disparities in phthalates exposure among reproductive-aged women: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2004. Environmental Health 2015, 14(1):57.


Listen to Recording

Phthalates are widely used industrial chemicals that may adversely impact human health. Human exposure is ubiquitous and can occur through diet, personal care products and the indoor environment. To reduce risk, researchers and public health professionals are tasked with identifying high-risk populations to target prevention and intervention efforts.

On this call, Dr. Ami Zota discussed the emerging evidence, which suggests that socially marginalized populations, such as women of color, may be more susceptible to phthalate exposures. We discussed racial/ethnic disparities in individual and biologically-relevant mixtures of phthalates, potential root causes of these exposure disparities and implications of these exposures for racial/ethnic disparities in women’s health outcomes across the life course.

Featured Presenter

AmiZotaAmi Zota, ScD, MS, is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health at the George Washington University Milken School of Public Health. Her research examines population exposures to environmental chemicals, their effects on women and children’s health and implications of these risks for health disparities. She received a career development award from National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences to identify how environmental hazards may interact with social disadvantage and psychosocial stressors to exacerbate health disparities during pregnancy.

Dr. Zota is equally committed to developing innovative approaches for science translation so that her research can more effectively be used to inform decision-making at the individual and collective level. Her research has been featured in high-impact national and international media publications including the Washington Post, LA Times, USA Today, Huffington Post, and the Atlantic Monthly. She has helped shape health and safety standards for flame retardants and other consumer product chemicals by participating in legislative briefings, providing technical assistance to the NGO community and writing commentaries for popular media. 

Before joining GW, Zota studied human exposure and health effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals at the Silent Spring Institute and then later at the University of California, San Francisco's Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment. She received her masters and doctorate in environmental health at the Harvard School of Public Health. She is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.


This teleconference call is one in a monthly series sponsored by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s EDC Strategies Partnership. The CHE EDC Strategies Partnership is chaired by Carol Kwiatkowski and Katie Pelch (TEDX), Sharyle Patton (Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center), Jerry Heindel (Commonweal Program on Endocrine Disruption Strategies), and Genon Jensen (HEAL) and coordinated by Maria Williams (Collaborative on Health and the Environment, a Commonweal program). To see a full list of past calls and webinars related to EDCs and listen to or view recordings, please visit our partnership page.

The call was moderated by Sharyle Patton, director of the Commonweal Biomonitoring Resources Center. The call lasted for 30 minutes and was recorded.