Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) concentrations in the atmosphere and in four vegetable crops including Brassica chinensis L. (bok choy), Brassica campestris L. (field mustard), Vigna unguiculata Walp. (cowpea), and Solanum melongena L. (eggplant) cultivated on land surrounding a plastic production factory were determined. The air DEHP concentrations (means) at the sites 0.2, 0.4, 0.8, and 1.6 km away from the plastic production building were about 9.4-12.8, 5.8-9.6, 1.6-5.0, and 0.04-0.27 microg m(-3) dry weight (DW), respectively. Wind direction is a key factor influencing the measurable DEHP concentration of the air, which was highest in the downwind direction and lowest in the upwind direction, and thus the vegetables accumulated the highest DEHP contents in the downwind direction and the lowest quantities in the upwind direction. The highest DEHP accumulations content of bok choy, field mustard, eggplant, and cowpea were 52.0 +/- 3.1, 43.1 +/- 2.2, 36.2 +/- 2.8, and 19.4 +/- 0.47 mg kg(-1) DW, respectively. Safety estimation on the basis of the daily intake limit referenced by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) led to the conclusion that eating vegetables cultivated 0.2 km away from the plastic production building is not a food safety problem under normal conditions. A strong positive linear correlation between atmospheric DEHP concentration and DEHP content of the vegetable crops was found. The limits for air DEHP concentration for safe vegetable cultivation are 24.0, 34.8, 40.8, and 82.8 microg m(-3) for bok choy, field mustard, cowpea, and eggplant, respectively, by calculating from the equation of linear regression between air DEHP concentration and vegetable DEHP content.