Exposure to Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate in Humans during Pregnancy
A Preliminary ReportLatini G.a · De Felice C.b · Presta G.a · Del Vecchio A.a · Paris I.c · Ruggieri F.c · Mazzeo P.c
aNeonatal Intensive Care Unit, Division of Pediatrics, Ospedale Perrino, Azienda Ospedaliera A. Di Summa, Brindisi; bNeonatal Intensive Care Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and Reproductive Medicine University of Siena, and cDepartment of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials, University of L’Aquila, Coppito/L’Aquila, Italy
Background: Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), the most commonly used plasticizer, is a widespread ubiquitous environmental contaminant. The potential health hazards from exposure to DEHP and its main metabolite, mono(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (MEHP), have been well documented. Exposure to DEHP and MEHP in humans at risk, such as pregnant women and human fetuses, has not been tested. Methods: Plasma DEHP and MEHP concentrations were measured in a total of 24 consecutive mother-infant pairs by high performance liquid chromatography. Associations between DEHP/MEHP and infant characteristics were tested using Fisher’s exact test, unpaired t tests and univariate linear regression analysis. Results: Measurable DEHP and MEHP concentrations were found in 17/24 (70.8%) and 18/24 (75%) maternal plasmas, respectively, and in 11/25 (44%) and 18/25 (72.0%) cord samples, respectively. Either DEHP or MEHP were detectable in 21/24 (87.5%) maternal plasmas and 19/25 (76%) cord samples. The mean DEHP concentrations in maternal and cord plasmas were 1.15 ± 0.81 and 2.05 ± 1.47 µg/ml, respectively. The mean MEHP concentrations were 0.68 ± 0.85 and 0.68 ± 1.03 µg/ml, respectively. No significant correlations were found between maternal and cord blood DEHP, maternal and cord blood MEHP, maternal DEHP and cord blood MEHP, or maternal MEHP and cord blood DEHP plasma concentrations. Conclusion: Although the effects of perinatal exposure to phthalates need further research, our findings: (i) confirm the high frequency of DEHP and/or MEHP exposure in human pregnancies; (ii) indicate that the exposure to these environmental contaminants begins during intrauterine life, and (iii) suggest that fetal exposure is closely related to the maternal exposure.
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