Phthalates and sexual maturation and growth: A focus on effects of phthalates exposure

Yen Yin Chou, Chung Yu Chen, Ching Chang Lee, Shou Yen Chen, Meng Che Tsai, I. Shou Lin, Shio Jean Lin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Human exposure to phthalates, which are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), is ubiquitous in the human environment because of their wide use in plastics and other common consumer products. General populations are exposed to phthalates via ingestion, inhalation, dermal absorption, and medical treatment. The potential consequences of human exposure to phthalates have raised concerns in the general population and have been widely studied in susceptible subjects, such as pregnant women, infants, and children. In vitro studies showed that phthalate esters may disrupt our endocrine system via interaction with estrogen receptor-a and -β and androgen receptor. Animal studies showed that phthalate esters interfere with development of the male reproductive system of rodents when administered during a critical window in gestation and cause a syndrome similar to testicular dysgenesis syndrome. Some phthalate esters alter the onset of puberty in prepubertal female rodents and change ovarian function in adult female rodents. In human studies, evidence showed that phthalates may cause changes in gestational age and birth weight after prenatal exposure in humans. Prenatal exposure to phthalates may change the anogenital distance and reproductive hormones in humans through anti-androgenic effects on the fetus. Moreover, phthalates may play a role in pubertal development of adolescent females. Since children and infants may be more susceptible to phthalates, it is suggested that parents buy toys and use personal products that are labeled phthalate free. More studies to investigate the underlying mechanism and the impact of phthalate esters on children's growth and development should be done.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Growth and Growth Monitoring in Health and Disease
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781441917959
ISBN (Print)9781441917942
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nursing(all)


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