Prenatal Phthalate Exposures and Neurobehavioral Development Scores in Boys and Girls at 6-10 Years of Age
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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.
CEHN April 2014 Article of the Month
“Behavioral Sexual Dimorphism in School-Age Children and Early Developmental Exposure to Dioxins and PCBs: A Follow-Up Study of the Duisburg Cohort” [Winneke G, et al. Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1306533] has been selected by the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) for its April 2014 Article of the Month summary. These summaries discuss the potential policy implications of current children’s environmental health research.
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