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Longitudinal associations of phthalate exposures during childhood and body size measurements in young girls
  • Published Date:
    Jul 2016
  • Source:
    Epidemiology. 27(4):492-499.
Filetype[PDF-410.43 KB]

  • Corporate Authors:
    Breast Cancer and Environment Research Program
  • Pubmed ID:
  • Pubmed Central ID:
  • Description:

    Phthalates are environmental chemicals that may play a role in the development of obesity. Few studies have investigated longitudinal associations between postnatal phthalate exposures and subsequent anthropometric measurements in children.


    We collected data as part of The Breast Cancer and Environment Research Program at three US sites. 1,239 girls, ages 6–8 years, were enrolled in 2004–2007. We categorized baseline phthalate exposures, assessed from creatinine-corrected urinary concentrations of low molecular weight phthalate metabolites as low, <78; medium, 78-<194; and high, ≥194 μg/g creatinine and of high molecular weight phthalates as low, <111; medium, 111–278; and high, ≥278 μg/g creatinine. Anthropometric measurements were collected through 2012 (n=1,017). Linear mixed effects regression estimated how baseline low and high molecular weight phthalate concentrations related to changes in girls’ body mass index (BMI), height, and waist circumference at ages 7 through 13 years.


    Low molecular weight phthalates were positively associated with gains in BMI and waist circumference. Predicted differences in BMI and waist circumference between girls with high versus low concentrations of low molecular weight phthalates increased from 0.56 (95% CI: −0.02, 1.1) to 1.2 (95%CI: 0.28, 2.1) kg/m2 and from 1.5 (95%CI: −0.38, 3.3) to 3.9 (95%CI: 1.3, 6.5) cm, respectively. High molecular weight phthalates were negatively associated with height but only among girls who were normal weight at baseline (BMI ≤85th percentile).


    Phthalates, specifically low molecular weight phthalates, have small but detectable associations with girls’ anthropometric outcomes. Low molecular weight phthalates, showed stronger associations than other types of phthalates.

  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Funding:
    U01 ES012770/ES/NIEHS NIH HHS/United States
    U01 ES012800/ES/NIEHS NIH HHS/United States
    P01 ES009584/ES/NIEHS NIH HHS/United States
    U01 ES012771/ES/NIEHS NIH HHS/United States
    P30 ES006096/ES/NIEHS NIH HHS/United States
    P30 ES023515/ES/NIEHS NIH HHS/United States
    T32 HD049311/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    U01 ES012801/ES/NIEHS NIH HHS/United States
    CC999999/Intramural CDC HHS/United States
    U01 ES019453/ES/NIEHS NIH HHS/United States
    U01 ES019457/ES/NIEHS NIH HHS/United States
    U01 ES019454/ES/NIEHS NIH HHS/United States
    UL1 RR029887/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
    U01 ES019435/ES/NIEHS NIH HHS/United States
    R00 ES023474/ES/NIEHS NIH HHS/United States
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