Background In May 2011, a major incident involving phthalates-contaminated foodstuffs occurred in Taiwan. Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) was added to foodstuffs, mainly juice, jelly, tea, sports drink, and dietary supplements. Concerns arose that normal pubertal development, especially reproductive hormone regulation in children, could be disrupted by DEHP exposure. Objective To investigate the association between phthalate exposure and reproductive hormone levels among children following potential exposure to phthalate-tainted foodstuffs. Methods A total of 239 children aged <12 years old were recruited from 3 hospitals in north, central, and south Taiwan after the episode. Structured questionnaires were used to collect the frequency and quantity of exposures to 5 categories of phthalate-contaminated foodstuffs to assess phthalate exposure in children. Urine samples were collected for the measurement of phthalate metabolites. The estimated daily intake of DEHP exposure at the time of the contamination incident occurred was calculated using both questionnaire data and urinary DEHP metabolite concentrations. Multiple regression analyses were applied to assess associations between phthalate exposure and reproductive hormone levels in children. Results After excluding children with missing data regarding exposure levels and hormone concentrations and girls with menstruation, 222 children were included in the statistical analyses. After adjustment for age and birth weight, girls with above median levels of urinary mono-(2- ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate, mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate, and sum of mono-(2- ethylhexyl) phthalate concentrations had higher odds of above median follicle-stimulating hormone concentrations. Girls with above median estimated average daily DEHP exposures following the contamination episode also had higher odds of sex hormone-binding globulin above median levels. Conclusions Phthalate exposure was associated with alterations of reproductive hormone levels in girls.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)