Prenatal maternal phthalate exposures and child lipid and adipokine levels at age six: A study from the PROGRESS cohort of Mexico City

Allison Kupsco, Haotian Wu, Antonia M. Calafat, Marianthi Anna Kioumourtzoglou, Marcela Tamayo-Ortiz, Ivan Pantic, Alejandra Cantoral, Maricruz Tolentino, Emily Oken, Joseph M. Braun, Andrea L. Deierlein, Robert O. Wright, Martha M. Téllez-Rojo, Andrea A. Baccarelli, Allan C. Just

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Prenatal phthalate exposures may affect processes that underlie offspring cardiometabolic health, but findings from studies examining these associations are conflicting. We examined associations between biomarkers of phthalate exposures during pregnancy with child lipid and adipokine levels. Methods: Data were from 463 mother-child pairs in the PROGRESS cohort of Mexico City. We quantified 15 phthalate metabolites in 2nd and 3rd trimester maternal urine samples and created an average pregnancy measure using the geometric mean. We evaluated the 15 metabolites as nine biomarkers, including four metabolite molar sums. We measured fasting serum triglycerides, non-HDL cholesterol, leptin, and adiponectin in children at the six-year follow-up visit (mean = 6.8 years). We estimated associations using linear regression, Bayesian kernel machine regression (BKMR), and weighted quantile sum (WQS) and assessed effect modification by sex. Results: In BKMR and WQS models, higher concentrations of the total mixture of phthalate biomarkers were associated with lower triglycerides (β = −3.7% [-6.5, −0.78] per 1 unit increase in WQS biomarker index) and non-HDL cholesterol (β = −2.0 [-3.7, −0.25] ng/ml per increase in WQS biomarker index). Associations between individual biomarkers and child outcomes were largely null. We observed some evidence of effect modification by child sex for mono-3-carboxypropyl phthalate (β = 19.4% [1.26, 40.7] per doubling of phthalate) and monobenzyl phthalate (β = −7.6% [-14.4, -0.23]) in girls for adiponectin. Conclusions: Individual prenatal phthalate biomarkers were not associated with child lipid or adipokine levels. Contrary to our hypothesis, the total phthalate mixture was associated with lower child triglycerides and non-HDL cholesterol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110341
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Cardiometabolic risk
  • Children's health
  • Lipids
  • Phthalates
  • Prenatal exposures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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