The association of urinary phosphorous-containing flame retardant metabolites and self-reported personal care and household product use among couples seeking fertility treatment.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Phosphorous-containing flame-retardants (PFRs) are widely detected. They are used both as a flame retardant as well as plasticizer.


A subset of 230 women and 229 men were recruited from Massachusetts General Hospital fertility clinic between 2005 and 2015. At each visit, participants completed a questionnaire of personal care product (PCP) and household product (HP) use. Metabolites [bis(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate, diphenyl phosphate (DPHP), isopropylphenyl phenyl phosphate (ip-PPP), tert-butylphenyl phenyl phosphate and bis(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate] were measured in urine (1-5 samples; n = 638 women, n = 335 men). Associations were assessed using generalized mixed models, adjusted for SG, age, BMI, smoking, education, and season.


In women, moisturizer (60%), nail polish remover (77%), and nail polish (134%) use were associated (p < 0.05) with an increase in DPHP concentrations, while ip-PPP concentrations increased 21-27% with conditioner, cosmetics, deodorant, and hair product use. Mouthwash and vinyl glove use were associated with a respective 31% and 92% increase in DPHP among men.


Our exploratory analysis suggests PFRs may be used as a plasticizer in consumer products, and nail polish use contributes to internal DPHP exposure. Further research is needed to understand how PFRs are used in these products and how it relates to exposure.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

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

Published Date

  • January 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 30 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 107 - 116

PubMed ID

  • 30728482

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6914666

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1559-064X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1559-0631

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/s41370-019-0122-9


  • eng