Early life organophosphate ester exposures and bone health at age 12 years: The Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment (HOME) Study

Sci Total Environ. 2022 Dec 10;851(Pt 2):158246. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.158246. Epub 2022 Aug 26.


Background: No human studies have evaluated early life organophosphate ester (OPE) exposures with bone health outcomes, despite evidence of osteotoxicity.

Objectives: We assessed associations of urinary OPE metabolites measured across early life with areal bone mineral density (aBMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) at age 12 years.

Methods: Among 223 mother-child dyads enrolled in the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment (HOME) Study, we quantified concentrations of bis-2-chloroethyl phosphate (BCEP), bis-(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) (BDCIPP), di-n-butyl phosphate (DnBP), and diphenyl phosphate (DPHP) in urine collected from mothers during pregnancy and children at ages 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8 years. At age 12 years, we performed dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and calculated aBMD and BMC z-scores at six skeletal sites. We estimated overall and sex-stratified BMD/BMC z-score differences per interquartile range (IQR) increase in OPE concentrations at multiple exposure timepoints: gestation (average) and 1-3 (average), 5, and 8 years.

Results: In adjusted models, overall associations of BCEP and BDCIPP with total hip and 1/3rd distal radius aBMD and BMC varied significantly by exposure timepoint, as did BDCIPP with whole body aBMD. For example, differences (95 % CI) in total hip aBMD z-score per IQR increase in BDCIPP were 0.33 (0.01, 0.64), -0.10 (-0.34, 0.14), -0.18 (-0.40, 0.05), and 0.14 (-0.09, 0.38) for concentrations during gestation and at 1-3, 5, and 8 years, respectively. Overall DnBP and DPHP associations were generally null at all timepoints. We observed sex-specific associations for some timepoints and skeletal sites. For example, an IQR increase in 8-year DPHP was associated with a 0.21 (0.05, 0.38) greater total hip aBMD z-score among females but -0.19 (-0.43, 0.05) lower z-score among males.

Discussion: Early life OPE exposures may be associated with sex- and exposure period-dependent alterations in early adolescent bone mineral accrual and strength.

Keywords: Adolescence; BMC; BMD; Bone; DXA; Organophosphate ester.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bone Density*
  • Child
  • Esters / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organophosphates* / urine
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Phosphates
  • Pregnancy


  • dinoseb
  • Organophosphates
  • Phosphates
  • Esters