Moms and their babies share phthalate contamination.

Oct 06, 2008

Sathyanarayana S, AM Calafat, F Liu and SH Swan. 2008.  Maternal and infant urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations: are they related? Environmental Research online August 19.

Synopsis by Jennifer Adibi

A study of US moms and their babies found that phthalates measured in their urine were similar and correlated, suggesting the chemical exposure is coming from common household and food sources.

Mothers and their babies up to 3 years of age had correlated levels of common pollutants called phthalates in their urine. This study supports the idea that phthalate exposures in the general population are coming from food as well as sources in the home and may pose a risk to children’s health. Phthalates are a class of chemicals found in soft plastics, cosmetics, housing materials and medical devices. They have been measured in the urine of 95% of US residents. In animal studies, phthalates block the actions of the male and female sex hormones, and therefore could be related to reproductive and other endocrine disorders. Researchers sampled 200 women and their babies in Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa and California. Ninety-six percent of the women in the study reported breastfeeding, which could be a primary route by which the phthalates are transferred from mom to baby. They also found that the correlations between mothers and their children were strongest in the younger babies and for the break-down products of di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP). DEHP is a plasticizer used in PVC and is most likely ingested through food.