Phthalate pregnancy exposure and male offspring growth from the intra-uterine period to five years of age

Environ Res. 2016 Nov;151:601-609. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.08.033. Epub 2016 Sep 3.


Objective: To study associations between prenatal exposure to phthalates and fetal and postnatal growth up to age 5 years in male offspring.

Methods: Eleven phthalate metabolites were quantified in spot maternal urine samples collected during gestation among 520 women of the EDEN mother-child cohort who gave birth to a boy. Fetal growth was assessed from repeated ultrasound measurements and measurements at birth. We used repeated measures of weight and height in the first 5 years of life to model individual postnatal growth trajectories. We estimated adjusted variations in pre and postnatal growth parameters associated with an interquartile range increase in ln-transformed phthalate metabolite concentrations.

Results: Monocarboxyisononyl phthalate (MCNP) was positively associated with femoral length during gestation and length at birth. High molecular weight phthalate metabolites were negatively associated with estimated fetal weight throughout pregnancy. Monoethyl phthalate (MEP) showed positive association with weight growth velocity from two to five years and with body mass index at five years (β=0.17kg/m2, 95% confidence interval, 0.04, 0.30).

Conclusions: We highlighted associations between gestational exposure to some phthalates and growth in boys. The positive association between MEP and postnatal growth in boys was also reported in several previous human studies.

Keywords: Body Mass Index; Endocrine Disruptors; Epidemiology; Fetal growth; Infant growth; Phthalates.

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Child Development / drug effects*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Endocrine Disruptors / chemistry
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Femur / embryology
  • Femur / growth & development
  • Fetal Weight / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Molecular Weight
  • Phthalic Acids / chemistry
  • Phthalic Acids / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / physiopathology
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Phthalic Acids