The effect of prenatal exposure to phthalates on food allergy and early eczema in inner-city children

Allergy Asthma Proc. 2015 Jul-Aug;36(4):72-8. doi: 10.2500/aap.2015.36.3867.


Background and objective: We hypothesized that maternal prenatal and children urine metabolite concentration of phthalates would be associated with food allergy and early eczema among inner-city children. The study was based on data from the Polish Mother and Child Cohort.

Methods: Prenatal and postnatal exposure to the following phthalates: diethyl phthalate, diisobutyl phthalate, di-n-butyl phthalate, butyl-benzyl phthalate, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, diisononyl phthalate, and di-n-octyl phthalate were determined by measuring phthalate metabolites in the urine collected from the mothers during the third trimester of pregnancy and from their children at age 2 years. Pre- and postnatal observations limited the response rate and final sample size; data from 147 participants were included in the analysis. Children's health status was assessed at 24 months of age by using a questionnaire administered to the mothers. We studied associations between the urine level of phthalates and the presence of food allergy and atopic dermatitis in logistic regression analysis. All associations were adjusted for independent risk factors of dependent variables. Associations with atopic dermatitis were adjusted for the effect of atopy in the family, the father's education, frequency of house cleaning, and breastfeeding; associations with food allergy were adjusted for the presence of pets at home during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Results: The prevalence of the outcomes were as follows: atopic dermatitis, 12.2%, and food allergy, 48.9%. We showed that higher urine concentrations of monobenzyl phthalate in mothers during pregnancy increased the risk of food allergy in children during the first 2 years of life (odds ratio 4.17 [95% confidence interval, 1.17-17.89]). There were no associations with children's urine and allergic symptoms.

Conclusions: Results of our study indicated awareness of environmental factors that may affect children's health because the phthalates were shown to be risk factors for food allergy in children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cities*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Eczema / epidemiology*
  • Eczema / etiology*
  • Eczema / urine
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / urine
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects
  • Phthalic Acids / adverse effects*
  • Phthalic Acids / urine
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • Phthalic Acids
  • phthalic acid