Animal studies suggest that phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in many consumer products, may impact the timing of puberty.
We aimed to determine the association of prenatal exposure to high-molecular-weight phthalates and BPA with pubertal timing in boys and girls participating in the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) longitudinal cohort study.
We quantified urinary concentrations of eight phthalate metabolites and BPA at two time points during pregnancy among participating mothers (n=338) and conducted clinical Tanner staging of puberty on their children every 9 months between 9 and 13 y of age. We conducted accelerated failure time models and examined the role of child overweight/obese status in this association.
The sum of urinary metabolites of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (∑DEHP), monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP), and BPA were associated with later onset of at least one of the three outcomes assessed in girls (thelarche, pubarche, or menarche) and with earlier onset of at least one of the two outcomes assessed in boys (gondarche and pubarche). We found that monocarboxynonyl phthalate, monocarboxyoctyl phthalate, mono(3-carboxypropyl) phthalate, and BPA were associated with later pubarche and menarche mostly among normal-weight girls but not overweight/obese girls. MBzP was associated with later thelarche in all girls, and ∑DEHP was associated with later thelarche and menarche in all girls. BPA and all phthalate biomarkers were associated with earlier gonadarche and pubarche in all boys as well as in overweight/obese boys when stratified by weight. Among normal-weight boys, associations with BPA were also inverse, whereas associations with phthalate metabolites were close to the null or positive.
Several high-molecular-weight phthalates and BPA were associated with later puberty in girls and earlier puberty in boys included in the CHAMACOS cohort study. Childhood overweight/obesity may modify these associations.https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP3424