Exploratory analysis of urinary metabolites of phosphorus-containing flame retardants in relation to markers of male reproductive health.
The use of phosphorus-containing flame retardants (PFRs) has increased over the past decade. Widespread human exposure has been reported, but information on the safety or potential health risks of PFRs is lacking. We assessed the relationship between urinary concentrations of two PFR metabolites [bis(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (BDCPP) and diphenyl phosphate (DPHP)] and semen quality, sperm motion parameters, and serum hormone levels in 33 men. BDCPP and DPHP concentrations were significantly greater in urine samples collected in the afternoon compared to those collected in the morning (p <0.05). In multivariable models, a number of statistically significant or suggestive associations were observed between the reproductive health measures and both PFR metabolites. While the study was limited by a small sample size, these results warrant further investigation in a larger study population. Additional studies on sources, pathways, and routes of PFR exposure, along with research on toxicokinetics and exposure measure utility, are also needed.