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Prenatal Exposure to Mixtures of Phthalates, Parabens, and Other Phenols and Obesity in Five-Year-Olds in the CHAMACOS Cohort

Exposures to phthalates, parabens, and other phenols are often correlated due to their ubiquitous use in personal care products and plastics. Examining these compounds as a complex mixture may clarify inconsistent relationships between individual chemicals and childhood adiposity. Using data from the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) study, a longitudinal cohort of children in Salinas Valley, California (n = 309), we examined biomarkers of 11 phthalate metabolites and 9 phenols, including several parabens and bisphenol A, measured in maternal urine at two time points during pregnancy. We measured child height and weight at age five to calculate the body mass index (BMI) z-scores and overweight/obesity status. The association between prenatal urinary concentrations of biomarkers with the childhood BMI z-score and overweight/obesity status was analyzed using single-pollutant models and two mixture methods: Bayesian hierarchical modeling (BMH) and Bayesian kernel machine regression (BKMR). Urinary concentrations of monoethyl phthalate, monocarboxy-isononly phthalate (metabolites of diethyl phthalate and di-isodecyl phthalate, respectively), and propylparaben were consistently associated with an increased BMI z-score and overweight/obesity status across all modeling approaches. Higher prenatal exposures to the cumulative biomarker mixture also trended with greater childhood adiposity. These results, robust across two methods that control for co-pollutant confounding, suggest that prenatal exposure to certain phthalates and parabens may increase the risk for obesity in early childhood.

Authors: Berger, Kimberly; Hyland, Carly; Ames, Jennifer L; Mora, Ana M; Huen, Karen; Eskenazi, Brenda; Holland, Nina; Harley, Kim G

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 02 12;18(4). Epub 2021-02-12.

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