Introduction Phthalate exposure may reduce intellectual development in young children. In 2011, numerous Taiwanese children had been reported to have consumed phthalate-tainted products. We investigated the effects of phthalate exposure on the intellectual development of these children after the 2011 Taiwan di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) episode. Methods We recruited 204 children, aged 3–12 y, from 3 hospitals in Taiwan between 2012 and 2013. First-morning urine samples were collected for analyzing 5 phthalate metabolites. We applied a Bayesian model to estimate the past DEHP exposure (estDEHPADD) of each participant before the 2011 DEHP episode. Demographic information, consumption of phthalate-tainted products, and maternal education, of each participant were obtained using a questionnaire. We used the Wechsler intelligence evaluation tools for assessing the children's and maternal intelligence quotient. Results and discussion The median levels of mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, mono(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate, mono(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (MEOHP), mono-n-butyl phthalate, and mono-iso-butyl phthalate in the children were 9.97, 45.8, 32.2, 46.2, and 24.3 μg/g creatinine, respectively. Using the aforementioned urinary phthalate metabolites, we found that the children's verbal comprehension index (N =98) was significantly negatively associated with urinary log10 MEOHP (β, −11.92; SE, 5.33; 95%CI, −22.52~ −1.33; P=0.028) and log10 ΣDBP metabolites (β, −10.95; SE, 4.93; 95%CI, −20.74~ −1.16; P=0.029) after adjustment for age, gender, maternal IQ and education, passive smoking, estDEHPADD, active and passive smoking during pregnancy. Through a tolerable daily intake-based approach, we only found a significant negative association between past estimate DEHPADD and VIQ≥3-<6 in preschool children whereas no correlation was observed between current DEHP exposure and IQ≥3-<6 score with/ without estimate DEHPADD adjustment. It revealed that the effect of past high-DEHP exposure on verbal-related neurodevelopment of younger child are more sensitive. Conclusion Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that exposure to DEHP and DnBP affects intellectual development in preschool and school-aged children, particularly their language learning or expression ability.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science(all)