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Prenatal Exposure to Phenols and Growth in Boys

Philippat, Clairea,b; Botton, Jérémiec,d; Calafat, Antonia M.e; Ye, Xiaoyune; Charles, Marie-Alinec,d; Slama, Rémya,bthe EDEN Study Group

doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000132
Child Development

Background: Phenols interact with nuclear receptors implicated in growth and adipogenesis regulation. Only a few studies have explored their effects on growth in humans.

Objectives: We studied the associations of maternal exposure to phenols during pregnancy with prenatal and postnatal growth of male newborns.

Methods: Within a cohort of women recruited during pregnancy, we selected 520 mother–son pairs and quantified 9 phenols in spot urine samples collected during pregnancy. We used ultrasonography during pregnancy, together with birth measurements, to assess fetal growth. We modeled individual postnatal growth trajectories from repeated measures of weight and height in the first 3 years of life.

Results: Triclosan concentration was negatively associated with growth parameters measured at the third ultrasound examination but not earlier in pregnancy. At birth, this phenol tended to be negatively associated with head circumference (−1.2 mm for an interquartile range [IQR] increase in ln-transformed triclosan concentration [95% confidence interval = −2.6 to 0.3]) but not with weight or height. Parabens were positively associated with weight at birth. This positive association remained for 3 years for methylparaben (β = 193 g [−4 to 389]) for an IQR increase in ln-transformed concentrations.

Conclusion: We relied on only 1 spot urine sample to assess exposure; because of the high variability in phenol urinary concentrations reported during pregnancy, using only 1 sample may result in exposure misclassification, in particular for bisphenol A. Our study suggested associations between prenatal exposure to parabens and triclosan and prenatal or early postnatal growth.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

From the aInserm, IAB, Team of Environmental Epidemiology applied to Reproduction and Respiratory Health, Grenoble, France; bUniversity of Grenoble Alpes, IAB, Grenoble, France; cInserm, Center for research in Epidemiology and Population Health, U1018, Team Epidemiology of Diabetes, Obesity and Renal Disease: Lifelong Approach, Villejuif, France; dUniversité Paris-Sud, Faculty of Pharmacy, Châtenay-Malabry, France; and eCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.

Submitted 04 November 2013; accepted 28 March 2014.

Supported by ANSES. The Eden cohort is supported by grants from FRM, Inserm, IReSP, Nestlé, French Ministry of health, ANR, Univ. Paris-Sud, InVS, ANSES, and MGEN.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Disclosure: The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Supplemental digital content is available through direct URL citations in the HTML and PDF versions of this article ( This content is not peer-reviewed or copy-edited; it is the sole responsibility of the authors.

Correspondence: Claire Philippat, Institut Albert Bonniot, Centre de Recherche INSERM-UJF U823, UJF Site Santé, BP 170, La Tronche, Grenoble 38042 Cedex 9, France. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc