In an article published on March 18, 2018, the Endocrine Society informed about a new study in mice investigating the effects of prenatal exposure to diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP, CAS 117-81-7) on male reproductive health. The research results were presented on March 19, 2018 at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting, ENDO 2018, in Chicago, U.S..

Lead author of the study Radwa Barakat and colleagues from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, U.S., exposed pregnant mice to 20μg, 200μg, 500 mg, or 750 mg/kg/day of DEHP or to the vehicle control. Male descendants of the DEHP-exposed mice were bred with unexposed female mice to produce a second generation. Male offspring of the second generation were again bred with unexposed females to produce a third generation of mice. At 15 months of age, the researches measured sex hormone levels, sperm concentrations, and sperm motility in the male mice of each generation. The researchers found that prenatal exposure to DEHP caused reproductive abnormalities (e.g., lower serum testosterone, fewer and less motile sperms) in the first, second, and third generation of male mice. In the second generation, only the highest DEHP-dose group exhibited reproductive abnormalities. In the third generation, reproductive abnormalities were not only observed in the highest but also in the lower dose groups, most prominently in the lowest DEHP-dose group.

“This study underscores the importance of educating public to try their best effort to reduce their exposure to this chemical and also the need to substitute this chemical with a safer one,” Barakat stated.

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Endocrine Society (March 18, 2018). “Prenatal exposure to consumer product chemical may affect male fertility in future generations.


Barakat, R., et al. (2018). “MON-359 / MON-359 – Prenatal exposure to DEHP leads to premature reproductive senescence in the future generations.ENDO 2018