A Mixture of Urinary Phthalate Metabolite Concentrations During Pregnancy and Offspring Social Responsiveness Scale Scores

Emma X. Yu, Joseph M. Braun, Kristen Lyall, Irva Hertz-Picciotto, M. Daniele Fallin, Lisa A. Croen, Aimin Chen, Yingying Xu, Kimberly Yolton, Craig J. Newschaffer, Ghassan B. Hamra

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Background: Phthalates are a group of chemicals with ubiquitous exposure worldwide. Exposures to phthalates during pregnancy may play a role in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) etiology by disrupting hormone levels or directly impacting fetal neurodevelopment. However, there is little research quantifying the aggregate effect of phthalates on child ASD-related behaviors. Methods: We used data from two prospective pregnancy and birth cohorts - the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment (HOME) and the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI). HOME is a general population cohort while participants in EARLI were at higher familial risk for ASD. Using quantile g-computation and linear regression models, we assessed the joint and individual associations of a mixture of six phthalate metabolites during pregnancy with child ASD-related traits measured by Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) scores at ages 3-8 years. Results: Our analyses included 271 participants from HOME and 166 participants from EARLI. There were imprecise associations between the phthalate mixture and SRS total raw scores in HOME (difference in SRS scores per decile increase in every phthalate = 1.3; 95% confidence interval [CI] = -0.2, 2.8) and EARLI (difference in SRS scores per decile increase in every phthalate = -0.9; 95% CI = -3.5, 1.7). Conclusions: The cohort-specific effect sizes of the pthalates-SRS associations were small and CIs were imprecise. These results suggest that if there are associations between phthalate metabolites during pregnancy and child SRS scores, they may differ across populations with different familial liabilities. Further studies with larger sample sizes are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-93
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology

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