Maternal urinary phthalate metabolites during pregnancy and thyroid hormone concentrations in maternal and cord sera: The HOME Study.Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2018 05; 221(4):623-631.IJ
Phthalates, endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are commonly found in consumer products, may adversely affect thyroid hormones, but findings from prior epidemiologic studies are inconsistent.
In a prospective cohort study, we investigated whether maternal urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations and phthalate mixtures measured during pregnancy were associated with thyroid hormones among pregnant women and newborns.
We measured nine phthalate metabolites [monoethyl phthalate (MEP), mono-n-butyl phthalate, mono-isobutyl phthalate, monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP), and four monoesthers of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate] in urine collected at approximately 16 and 26 weeks' gestation among women in the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment Study (2003-2006, Cincinnati, Ohio). Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and free and total thyroxine and triiodothyronine were measured in maternal serum at 16 weeks' gestation (n = 202) and cord serum at delivery (n = 276). We used multivariable linear regression to assess associations between individual urinary phthalate metabolites and concentrations of maternal or cord serum thyroid hormones. We used weighted quantile sum regression (WQS) to create a phthalate index describing combined concentrations of phthalate metabolites and to investigate associations of the phthalate index with individual thyroid hormones.
With each 10-fold increase in 16-week maternal urinary MEP, maternal serum total thyroxine (TT4) decreased by 0.52 μg/dL (95% CI: -1.01, -0.03). For each 10-fold increase in average (16- and 26-week) maternal urinary MBzP, cord serum TSH decreased by 19% (95% CI: -33.1, -1.9). Among mothers, the phthalate index was inversely associated with maternal serum TT4 (WQS beta = -0.60; 95% CI: -1.01, -0.18). Among newborns, the phthalate index was inversely associated with both cord serum TSH (WQS beta = -0.11; 95% CI: -0.20, -0.03) and TT4 (WQS beta = -0.53; 95% CI: -0.90, -0.16).
Our results suggest that co-exposure to multiple phthalates was inversely associated with certain thyroid hormones (TT4 in pregnant women and newborns, and TSH in newborns) in this birth cohort. These findings highlight the need to study chemical mixtures in environmental epidemiology.