Urinary Concentrations of Organophosphate Flame Retardant Metabolites and Pregnancy Outcomes among Women Undergoing in Vitro Fertilization.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Evidence from animal studies suggests that exposure to organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs) can disrupt endocrine function and impair embryo development. However, no epidemiologic studies have been conducted to evaluate effects on fertility and pregnancy outcomes.


We evaluated associations between urinary concentrations of PFR metabolites and outcomes of in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment among couples recruited from an academic fertility clinic.


This analysis included 211 women enrolled in the Environment And Reproductive Health (EARTH) prospective cohort study (2005-2015) who provided one or two urine samples per IVF cycle. We measured five urinary PFR metabolites [bis(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (BDCIPP), diphenyl phosphate (DPHP), isopropylphenyl phenyl phosphate (ip-PPP), tert-butylphenyl phenyl phosphate (tb-PPP), and bis(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (BCIPP)] using negative electrospray ionization liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Molar concentrations of the urinary PFR metabolites were summed. We used multivariable generalized linear mixed models to evaluate the association of the PFR metabolites with IVF outcomes, accounting for multiple IVF cycles per woman.


Detection frequencies were high for BDCIPP (87%), DPHP (94%), and ip-PPP (80%), but low for tb-PPP (14%) and BCIPP (0%). We observed decreased success for several IVF outcomes across increasing quartiles of both summed and individual PFR metabolites (DPHP and ip-PPP) in our adjusted multivariable models. Significant declines in adjusted means from the lowest to highest quartile of ΣPFR were observed for the proportion of cycles resulting in successful fertilization (10% decrease), implantation (31%), clinical pregnancy (41%), and live birth (38%).


Using IVF to investigate human reproduction and pregnancy outcomes, we found that concentrations of some urinary PFR metabolites were negatively associated with proportions of successful fertilization, implantation, clinical pregnancy, and live birth. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP1021.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Carignan, CC; Mínguez-Alarcón, L; Butt, CM; Williams, PL; Meeker, JD; Stapleton, HM; Toth, TL; Ford, JB; Hauser, R; EARTH Study Team,

Published Date

  • August 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 125 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 087018 -

PubMed ID

  • 28858831

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5783651

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-9924

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0091-6765

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1289/ehp1021


  • eng