Prenatal and early childhood phthalate exposures and thyroid function among school-age children

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  • Kyoung-Nam Kim
  • Hwa Young Kim
  • Lim, Youn-Hee
  • Choong Ho Shin
  • Johanna Inhyang Kim
  • Bung-Nyun Kim
  • Young Ah Lee
  • Yun-Chul Hong

BACKGROUND: Limited studies have investigated the association between prenatal and early childhood phthalate exposures and thyroid function among children.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the association between early life phthalate exposure and thyroid function among school-age children, considering both prenatal and early childhood exposures, using longitudinal data from an established prospective cohort.

METHODS: We measured urinary phthalate metabolite levels during pregnancy and at 2, 4, and 6 years of age and conducted thyroid function tests at 6 years of age. We assessed the associations between phthalate metabolite levels and thyroid function using linear regression and Bayesian kernel machine regression (BKMR) models (n = 492).

RESULTS: In linear regression models, a doubling of urinary mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP) levels, measured during pregnancy and at 4 years of age, was associated with lower thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels at 6 years of age (-5.0%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -8.8%, -1.0% and -5.7%, 95% CI: -9.7%, -1.5%, respectively). A similar association was found between mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (MEOHP) levels at 4 years of age and TSH levels at 6 years of age (-5.5%, 95% CI: -9.7%, -1.1%). Urinary mono-(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate (MEHHP) (2.3%, 95% CI: 0.1%, 4.5%) and MEOHP levels at 2 years of age (2.2%, 95% CI: 0.1%, 4.4%) and mono-2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl phthalate (1.4%, 95% CI: 0.1%, 2.7%) and mono-benzyl phthalate levels at 6 years of age (1.1%, 95% CI: 0.4%, 1.9%) were associated with higher triiodothyronine (T3) levels at 6 years of age. Urinary MnBP during pregnancy, MEHHP, MEOHP, and MnBP at 4 years of age were also associated with lower free thyroxine (fT4) × TSH. In BKMR models, urinary MnBP levels during pregnancy were associated with lower TSH levels and fT4 × TSH (both posterior inclusion probabilities: 0.99).

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that early life phthalate exposure influences subsequent thyroid function. However, the results should be interpreted cautiously, because a single spot urine sample was used to quantify the phthalate exposures at each time point.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105782
JournalEnvironment International
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

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