Prenatal and peripubertal phthalates and bisphenol A in relation to sex hormones and puberty in boys

Reprod Toxicol. 2014 Aug;47:70-6. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2014.06.002. Epub 2014 Jun 16.


Phthalates and BPA are known endocrine disruptors and exposure in pregnant mothers and children is ubiquitous. We explored the relationship of prenatal and childhood exposures with pubertal onset and sex hormones in boys (ages 8-14). Phthalate metabolites and BPA were measured in maternal 3rd trimester or childhood urine. Sex hormones DHEAS, estradiol, inhibin B, SHBG, and total testosterone were measured in serum. Adrenarche and puberty were assessed by pediatrician. Prenatal exposure to some phthalates was associated with decreased DHEAS and inhibin B levels, and with increased SHBG. Prenatal exposure to most phthalates and BPA was associated with greatly reduced odds of adrenarche (odds ratios [OR]=0.12-0.65) and slightly reduced odds of puberty (OR=0.50-0.98). Childhood exposure was not associated with adrenarche or puberty, but some phthalates and BPA were associated with increased SHBG levels and decreased total and free testosterone levels.

Keywords: Bisphenol A; Environment; Exposure; Puberty; Tanner stage; Testosterone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / urine*
  • Child
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate / blood
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Pollutants / urine*
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Male / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Inhibins / blood
  • Male
  • Phenols / urine*
  • Phthalic Acids / urine*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third / urine
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Puberty / blood*
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / analysis
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Phenols
  • Phthalic Acids
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • inhibin B
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Inhibins
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate
  • phthalic acid
  • bisphenol A