JOURNAL ARTICLE

Investigation of relationships between urinary biomarkers of phytoestrogens, phthalates, and phenols and pubertal stages in girls

Mary S Wolff, Susan L Teitelbaum, Susan M Pinney, Gayle Windham, Laura Liao, Frank Biro, Lawrence H Kushi, Chris Erdmann, Robert A Hiatt, Michael E Rybak, Antonia M Calafat
Environmental Health Perspectives 2010, 118 (7): 1039-46
20308033

BACKGROUND: Hormonally active environmental agents may alter the course of pubertal development in girls, which is controlled by steroids and gonadotropins.

OBJECTIVES: We investigated associations of concurrent exposures from three chemical classes (phenols, phthalates, and phytoestrogens) with pubertal stages in a multiethnic longitudinal study of 1,151 girls from New York City, New York, greater Cincinnati, Ohio, and northern California who were 6-8 years of age at enrollment (2004-2007).

METHODS: We measured urinary exposure biomarkers at visit 1 and examined associations with breast and pubic hair development (present or absent, assessed 1 year later) using multivariate adjusted prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Modification of biomarker associations by age-specific body mass index percentile (BMI%) was investigated, because adipose tissue is a source of peripubertal hormones.

RESULTS: Breast development was present in 30% of girls, and 22% had pubic hair. High-molecular-weight phthalate (high MWP) metabolites were weakly associated with pubic hair development [adjusted PR, 0.94 (95% CI, 0.88-1.00), fifth vs. first quintile]. Small inverse associations were seen for daidzein with breast stage and for triclosan and high MWP with pubic hair stage; a positive trend was observed for low-molecular-weight phthalate biomarkers with breast and pubic hair development. Enterolactone attenuated BMI associations with breast development. In the first enterolactone quintile, for the association of high BMI with any development, the PR was 1.34 (95% CI, 1.23-1.45 vs. low BMI). There was no BMI association in the fifth, highest quintile of enterolactone.

CONCLUSIONS: Weak hormonally active xenobiotic agents investigated in this study had small associations with pubertal development, mainly among those agents detected at highest concentrations.

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