In an article published on March 9, 2017 by news provider Environmental Health News (EHN), journalist Brian Bienkowski reported on a new scientific study examining early prenatal exposure to phthalates and genital abnormalities in male newborns. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism and conducted by Sheela Sathyanarayana and colleagues from the University of Washington, the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, as well as other universities and research institutes in the U.S.. The researchers measured urinary concentrations of phthalate metabolites in 591 women in early pregnancy. They also measured the mothers’ serum free testosterone, total testosterone, estrone, and estradiol. The researchers further examined the newborn’s genital outcomes at birth.
Sathyanarayana and colleagues found a positive association between mono-isobutyl phthalate (MiBP, CAS 30833-53-5; metabolite of diisobutyl phthalate, DIBP, CAS 84-69-5), mono-benzyl phthalate (MBzP, CAS 2528-16-7; metabolite of benzylbutyl phthalate, BzBP, CAS 85-68-7), as well as metabolites of DEHP, and estrone and estradiol levels. This suggests a positive estrogenic effect of phthalates in early pregnancy. The authors also found an inverse association between DEHP metabolites as well as mono-(carboxynonyl) phthalate (MCNP, CAS not available; metabolite of di-isodecyl phthalate, DiDP, CAS 26761-40-0), and serum free testosterone levels. Mothers with higher free testosterone had a 25% lower prevalence of male newborns with genital abnormalities.
Brian Bienkowski (March 9, 2017). “Pregnant women’s sex hormones waver with phthalate exposure.” Environmental Health News
Evan Koch (March 9, 2017). “Study links exposure to common chemicals during early pregnancy to altered hormone levels in fetus.” Seattle Children’s
Sathyanarayana, S. et al. (2017). “Early prenatal phthalate exposure, sex steroid hormones, and newborn birth outcomes.” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (published online March 9, 2017).