Health risks of chemicals in consumer products: A review
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Increasingly diverse chemicals are used in consumer products, while our understanding of their exposure pathways and associated human health risks still lags behind. This paper aims to identify the dominant patterns of exposure pathways and associated health risks of chemicals used in consumer products reported in the peer-reviewed literature. We analyzed 342 articles covering 202 unique chemicals, and distilled the information on the functional uses, product applications, exposure routes, exposure pathways, toxicity endpoints and their combinations. We found that the volume of the literature addressing human health risks of chemicals in consumer products is increasing. Among others, phthalates, bisphenol-A, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers were the most frequently discussed chemical groups in the literature reviewed. Emerged from our review were a number of frequently reported functional use/product application combinations, including plasticizers, polymers/monomers, and flame retardants used in food contact products, personal care products, cosmetics, furniture, flooring, and electronics. We also observed a strong tendency that the number of publications on a chemical surges following major regulatory changes or exposure incidents associated with the chemical. We highlight the need to develop the capacity and the mechanism through which human health risks of chemicals in consumer products can be identified prior to their releases.