Pregnancy exposure to common-detect organophosphate esters and phthalates and maternal thyroid function.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Contemporary human populations are exposed to elevated concentrations of organophosphate esters (OPEs) and phthalates. Some metabolites have been linked with altered thyroid function, however, inconsistencies exist across thyroid function biomarkers. Research on OPEs is sparse, particularly during pregnancy, when maintaining normal thyroid function is critical to maternal and fetal health. In this paper, we aimed to characterize relationships between OPEs and phthalates exposure and maternal thyroid function during pregnancy, using a cross-sectional investigation of pregnant women nested within the Norwegian Mother, Father, and Child Cohort (MoBa).


We included 473 pregnant women, who were euthyroid and provided bio-samples at 17 weeks' gestation (2004-2008). Four OPE and six phthalate metabolites were measured from urine; six thyroid function biomarkers were estimated from blood. Relationships between thyroid function biomarkers and log-transformed concentrations of OPE and phthalate metabolites were characterized using two approaches that both accounted for confounding by co-exposures: co-pollutant adjusted general linear model (GLM) and Bayesian Kernal Machine Regression (BKMR).


We restricted our analysis to common-detect OPE and phthalate metabolites (>94%): diphenyl phosphate (DPHP), di-n-butyl phosphate (DNBP), and all phthalate metabolites. In GLM, pregnant women with summed di-isononyl phthalate metabolites (∑DiNP) concentrations in the 75th percentile had a 0.37 ng/μg lower total triiodothyronine (TT3): total thyroxine (TT4) ratio (95% credible interval: [-0.59, -0.15]) as compared to those in the 25th percentile, possibly due to small but diverging influences on TT3 (-1.99 ng/dL [-4.52, 0.53]) and TT4 (0.13 μg/dL [-0.01, 0.26]). Similar trends were observed for DNBP and inverse associations were observed for DPHP, monoethyl phthalate, mono-isobutyl phthalate, and mono-n-butyl phthalate. Most associations observed in co-pollutants adjusted GLMs were attenuated towards the null in BKMR, except for the case of ∑DiNP and TT3:TT4 ratio (-0.48 [-0.96, 0.003]).


Maternal thyroid function varied modestly with ∑DiNP, whereas results for DPHP varied by the type of statistical models.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Choi, G; Keil, AP; Villanger, GD; Richardson, DB; Daniels, JL; Hoffman, K; Sakhi, AK; Thomsen, C; Herring, AH; Drover, SSM; Nethery, R; Aase, H; Engel, SM

Published Date

  • August 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 782 /

Start / End Page

  • 146709 -

PubMed ID

  • 33839654

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8222630

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-1026

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0048-9697

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146709


  • eng