Prenatal exposure to organophosphate esters and behavioral development in young children in the Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition Study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Organophosphate esters (OPEs) are commonly used as plasticizers and flame retardants in consumer products, and exposure is relatively ubiquitous in most populations studied. This may be of concern as some OPEs may be neurotoxic, endocrine-disrupting, and interfere with behavioral development; however, observational evidence is limited. We used data from the Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition Study, a prospective birth cohort study, to investigate associations between maternal OPE metabolite concentrations during pregnancy and behavioral development in offspring. Women provided a urine sample during pregnancy that was analyzed for concentrations of OPE metabolites, including diphenyl phosphate (DPHP), bis(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl phosphate) (BDCIPP), isopropyl-phenyl phenyl phosphate (ip-PPP), and 1-hydroxyl-2-propyl bis(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (BCIPHIPP). Offspring's behavioral development was assessed by the Behavioral Assessment System for Children (2nd Edition) (BASC-2) at approximately 36 months. Linear regression was used to estimate associations between tertiles in specific gravity-corrected OPE metabolite concentrations and children's scores on the BASC-2, adjusted for maternal age, maternal BMI, maternal race, maternal education, familial income, maternal depression, quality of the home environment, and sex. Higher BDCIPP concentrations were associated with higher scores on the Behavioral Symptoms Index (1st vs. 3rd tertile: β = 3.03; 95% CI = 0.40, 5.67) and Externalizing Problems (1st vs. 3rd tertile: β = 2.49; 95% CI: -0.12, 5.10) composites. Among BASC-2 scales, BDCIPP was most strongly associated with Withdrawal, Attention Problems, Depression, Hyperactivity, and Aggression. DPHP concentrations were also associated with higher scores on the Externalizing Problems and Behavioral Symptoms Index composites, but not as strongly as BDCIPP. Conversely, higher concentrations of ip-PPP were associated with fewer adverse behavioral symptoms, including an inverse association with the Internalizing Problems composite (1st vs. 3rd tertile: β = -3.74; 95% CI = -6.75, -0.74) and constituent scales. BCIPHIPP was not strongly associated with any measured behavioral outcomes. Our results suggest that greater maternal exposure to tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl phosphate) (TDCIPP, parent compound of BDCIPP) and, to a lesser degree, triphenyl phosphate (TPHP, parent compound of DPHP) during pregnancy is associated with adverse behavioral development in children. Our study contributes to the growing body of evidence pertaining to adverse developmental effects of prenatal OPE exposure and highlights the need for further research to characterize risks associated with this ubiquitous family of chemicals.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Doherty, BT; Hoffman, K; Keil, AP; Engel, SM; Stapleton, HM; Goldman, BD; Olshan, AF; Daniels, JL

Published Date

  • July 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 73 /

Start / End Page

  • 150 - 160

PubMed ID

  • 30951742

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6635002

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1872-9711

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0161-813X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.neuro.2019.03.007


  • eng