Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Gestational and childhood exposure to phthalates and child behavior.

Authors: Li, Nan; Papandonatos, George D; Calafat, Antonia M; Yolton, Kimberly; Lanphear, Bruce P; Chen, Aimin; Braun, Joseph M

Published In Environ Int, (2020 11)

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Early-life phthalate exposures may adversely influence neurodevelopment by disrupting thyroid hormone homeostasis, altering brain lipid metabolism, or reducing gonadal hormone concentrations. Previous literature examining gestational phthalate exposure and child behavior were inconclusive and few prospective studies have examined childhood phthalate exposure, particularly phthalate mixtures. We investigated whether gestational and childhood phthalate exposures were associated with child behavior. METHODS: We used data from 314 mother-child pairs in the HOME Study, a longitudinal pregnancy and birth cohort that enrolled pregnant women from Cincinnati, Ohio. We quantified urinary concentrations of 11 phthalate metabolites in samples collected twice during gestation from women and six times from their children when they were ages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8 years. We assessed children's behavior at ages 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8 years using the Behavioral Assessment System for Children-2. Using linear mixed models, we estimated covariate-adjusted associations of measurement-error-corrected gestational and childhood phthalate metabolite concentrations (per interquartile range increase) with repeated child behavior assessments. We used Weighted Quantile Sum (WQS) regression to estimate the association of phthalate mixtures with child behavior. RESULTS: Gestational mono(3-carboxypropyl) phthalate (MCPP) concentrations were associated with more problem behaviors (internalizing: β = 0.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] = -0.1, 1.9; externalizing: β = 1.0, 95%CI = -0.1, 2.0; behavioral symptoms index [BSI]: β = 1.1, 95%CI = 0.1, 2.1). Higher childhood monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP) (β = 1.4; 95%CI = 0.0, 2.7), monocarboxynonyl phthalate (MCNP) (β = 3.2; 95%CI = 1.6, 4.8), monocarboxyoctyl phthalate (MCOP) (β = 0.9; 95%CI = 0.0, 1.7), MCPP (β = 1.8; 95%CI = 0.2, 3.5), and monoethyl phthalate (MEP) (β = 1.6; 95%CI = 0.1, 3.1) concentrations were associated with higher BSI composite scores. Consistent with this, the weighted childhood phthalate index was associated with more problem behaviors (internalizing: β = 1.5, 95%CI = -0.2, 3.1; externalizing: β = 1.7, 95%CI = 0.1, 3.5; BSI: β = 1.7, 95%CI = 0.2, 3.2); MBzP, MCNP, and MEP largely contributed to these associations. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that childhood exposure to phthalate mixtures may be associated with children's problem behaviors.

PubMed ID: 32798801 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Child; Environmental Exposure; Environmental Pollutants*/toxicity; Female; Humans; Ohio; Phthalic Acids*/toxicity; Pregnancy; Problem Behavior*; Prospective Studies; Thyroid Hormones

to Top