Prenatal and childhood phthalate exposure and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder traits in child temperament: A 12-year follow-up birth cohort study.
Sci Total Environ. 2020 Jan 10 ;699:134053. Epub 2019 Aug 29. PMID: 31678884
Temperamental tendencies may form the basis of personality development, and specific personality constellations are associated with increased incidences of behavioural problems. Phthalic acid ester (PAE) has been associated with symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in cross-sectional studies. We hypothesised that early-life exposure to PAE affects the temperaments of children, particularly ADHD traits. In this study, we analysed the temperament evaluations completed at least once by maternal-infant pairs (n = 208) when the child was aged 2, 5, and/or 11 years between 2000 and 2012. We measured seven PAE metabolites in the urine of the mothers during pregnancy and their children using liquid chromatography-electrospray ionisation-tandem mass spectrometry. These metabolites included mono-methyl phthalate, mono-ethyl phthalate, mono-butyl phthalate (MBP), mono-benzyl phthalate (MBzP), and three metabolites of di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate. The phthalate metabolite levels in pregnant women were significantly associated with a decreased threshold of responsiveness (coefficients from -0.21 to -0.46) and increased distractibility (coefficients from 0.23 to 0.46) in pre-school children. After adjustment for maternal exposure, the phthalate metabolite concentrations of the children exhibited significantly increased odds ratios (ORs) with respect to the ADHD symptom traits. Specifically, mono-2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl phthalate (MEHHP), the sum of the DEHP metabolites, and MBzP yielded ORs and 95% confidence intervals of 2.98 (1.05-8.48), 3.28 (1.15-9.35), and 9.12 (1.07-78.06), respectively, for every logcreatinine unit (g/g creatinine) increase. Thus, early-life phthalate exposure was found to be associated with the behavioural characteristics of children, particularly temperamental traits associated with ADHD.