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Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1307063

Prenatal Phthalate Exposures and Neurobehavioral Development Scores in Boys and Girls at 6-10 Years of Age

Roni W. Kobrosly,1 Sarah Evans,1 Amir Miodovnik,1 Emily S. Barrett,2 Sally W. Thurston,3 Antonia M. Calafat,4 and Shanna H. Swan
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1Department of Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, USA; 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York, USA; 3Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Rochester, New York, USA; 4Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
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This EHP Advance Publication article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. EHP Advance Publication articles are completely citable using the DOI number assigned to the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process.

Citation: Kobrosly RW, Evans S, Miodovnik A, Barrett ES, Thurston SW, Calafat AM, Swan SH. Prenatal Phthalate Exposures and Neurobehavioral Development Scores in Boys and Girls at 6-10 Years of Age. Environ Health Perspect; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1307063.

Received: 9 May 2013
Accepted: 20 February 2014
Advance Publication: 21 February 2014

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Background: There is concern over potential neurobehavioral effects of prenatal phthalate exposures, but available data are inconsistent.

Objectives: To examine associations between prenatal urinary concentrations of phthalate metabolites and neurobehavioral scores among children.

Methods: We measured phthalate metabolite concentrations in urine samples from 153 pregnant participants in the Study for Future Families, a multicenter cohort study. Mothers completed the Child Behavior Checklist when the children were 6-10 years of age. We estimated overall and sex-specific associations between phthalate concentrations and behavior using adjusted multiple regression interaction models.

Results: In boys concentrations of mono-isobutyl phthalate were associated with higher scores for inattention (β = 0.27; 95% CI: 0.04, 0.50), rule-breaking behavior (β = 0.20; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.38), aggression (β = 0.34; 95% CI: 0.09, 0.59), and conduct problems (β = 0.39; 95% CI: 0.20, 0.58), while the molar sum of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate metabolites was associated with higher scores for somatic problems (β = 0.15; 95% CI: 0.03, 0.28). Higher monobenzyl phthalate concentrations were associated with higher scores for oppositional behavior (β = 0.16; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.32) and conduct problems (β = 0.21; 95% CI: 0.06, 0.37) in boys, but with reduced anxiety scores in girls (β = -0.20; 95% CI: -0.39, -0.01). In general, the associations reported above were close to the null among girls. Model coefficients represent the difference in the square-root transformed outcome score associated with a 1-unit increase in log-transformed metabolites.

Conclusions: Our results suggest associations between exposure to certain phthalates in late pregnancy and behavioral problems in boys. Given the few studies on this topic and methodological and population differences among studies, additional research is warranted.

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