Background: Subfertile women have higher risk of glucose intolerance during pregnancy. Studies suggest associations between several endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and pregnancy glucose levels. However, the association between benzophenone-3 (BP-3), an EDC widely found in sunscreen, and pregnancy glucose levels remains unclear. We aimed to assess the association between perinatal exposures to BP-3 and pregnancy glucose levels in subfertile women.
Methods: We evaluated 217 women from a prospective cohort based at a fertility clinic who had urinary BP-3 concentrations measured during 3-month preconception, first and/or second trimesters, and blood glucose measured at glucose load tests (GLTs) during late pregnancy. Multivariable linear and logistic regression models were used to assess associations between time-specific BP-3 in quartiles (Q1 - Q4) and mean glucose levels, as well as odds of abnormal GLT (glucose level ≥ 140 mg/dL), adjusting for potential confounders. Effect modification was assessed by age, season, BMI, infertility diagnosis, sex of fetus (es) and physical activity.
Results: Women with higher first trimester BP-3 concentrations had lower mean glucose levels [mean glucose (95% CI) for Q4 vs Q1 = 103.4 (95.0, 112.5) vs. 114.6 (105.8, 124.2) mg/dL]. Women with higher second trimester BP-3 concentrations had lower odds of abnormal GLT [OR (95% CI) for Q3 vs. Q1 = 0.12 (0.01, 0.94)]. The associations between BP-3 and glucose levels were modified by several factors: women with female-factor infertility, urine collected during summer, older age, lower BMI, or carried female fetus (es) had the strongest inverse associations between BP-3 and glucose levels, while no associations were observed in the remaining subgroups.
Conclusions: Time-specific inverse associations between BP-3 and pregnancy glucose levels existed in subfertile women, and especially among certain subgroups of this high-risk-population.
Keywords: Benzophenone-3; Endocrine disrupting chemicals; Environmental epidemiology; Glucose levels; Infertility; Pregnancy.