J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2020 Jan;30(1):56-69. doi: 10.1038/s41370-019-0168-8. Epub 2019 Sep 3.
BACKGROUND: As a result of evidence suggesting phthalate toxicity, their use has decreased in recent years. However, new phthalates and non-phthalate replacements have emerged in their place, with unknown potential impacts on health.
METHODS: We measured 15 phthalate, two di(2-ethylhexyl)terephthalate (DEHTP), and two di(isononyl)cyclohexane-1,2-dicarboxylate (DINCH) urinary metabolites, collected up to three times during pregnancy from 994 women in Northern Puerto Rico (2011-2017). We used tests of linear trend to assess changes in concentrations over time and linear mixed models to identify predictors of exposure (sociodemographic characteristics, drinking water sources, diet, product use).
RESULTS: Several phthalate metabolites decreased over the study period indicating decreased exposure, while the geometric mean of DEHTP metabolites (molecular sum) increased threefold between 2014 and 2017. Intraclass correlations revealed low to moderate reproducibility of these biomarkers across pregnancy. Several metabolites were associated with maternal age, income, education, pre-pregnancy BMI, drinking public water, use of cleaning and personal care products, and ice cream consumption. DINCH metabolite concentrations remained low throughout the study period.
CONCLUSION: Although exposure to some phthalates may be decreasing, exposure to replacements, such as DEHTP, is increasing. Additional studies are needed to further characterize sources of phthalate replacement chemicals and potential exposure-related health effects among vulnerable populations.