Prenatal exposure to phthalates may pose a threat to human male reproduction. However, additional knowledge about the in vivo effect in humans is needed, and reported associations with genital abnormalities are inconclusive. We aimed to study prenatal di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and diisononyl phthalate (DiNP) exposure in relation to cryptorchidism, hypospadias, and human fetal Leydig cell function.
We studied 270 cryptorchidism cases, 75 hypospadias cases, and 300 controls. Second-trimester amniotic fluid samples were available from a Danish pregnancy-screening biobank (n = 25,105) covering 1980-1996. We assayed metabolites of DEHP and DiNP (n = 645) and steroid hormones (n = 545) by mass spectrometry. We assayed insulin-like factor 3 by immunoassay (n = 475) and analyzed data using linear or logistic regression.
Mono(2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl) phthalate (5cx-MEPP, DEHP metabolite) was not consistently associated with cryptorchidism or hypospadias. However, we observed an 18% higher (95% confidence interval [CI] = 5%-33%) testosterone level, and a 41% lower (-56% to -21%) insulin-like factor 3 level in the highest 5cx-MEPP tertile compared with the lowest. Mono(4-methyl-7-carboxyheptyl) phthalate (7cx-MMeHP, DiNP metabolite) showed elevated odds ratio point estimates for having cryptorchidism (odds ratio = 1.28 [95% CI = 0.80 to 2.01]) and hypospadias (1.69 [0.78 to 3.67]), but was not consistently associated with the steroid hormones or insulin-like factor 3.
Data on the DEHP metabolite indicate possible interference with human male fetal gonadal function. Considering the DiNP metabolite, we cannot exclude (nor statistically confirm) an association with hypospadias and, less strongly, with cryptorchidism.
Maternal smoking during pregnancy has repeatedly been associated with decreased sperm counts in sons. Nevertheless, our team recently detected a lower total sperm count in the sons of smoking fathers as compared to sons of non-smoking fathers. Since paternal and maternal tobacco smoking often coincide, it is difficult to discriminate whether effects are mediated paternally or maternally when using questionnaire- or register-based studies. Therefore, getting an objective measure of the maternal nicotine exposure level during pregnancy might help disentangling the impact of paternally and maternally derived exposure.
Our aim was to study how paternal smoking at the time of the pregnancy was associated with semen quality in the sons after adjusting for the maternal levels of nicotine exposure during pregnancy.
We recruited 104 men (17-20 years old) from the general Swedish population. The participants answered a questionnaire about paternal smoking. Associations between smoking and semen volume, total sperm count, sperm concentration, morphology and motility were adjusted for levels of the nicotine metabolite cotinine in stored maternal serum samples obtained from rubella screening between the 6th and 35th week of pregnancy. We additionally adjusted for the estimated socioeconomic status.
After adjusting for the maternal cotinine, the men of smoking fathers had 41% lower sperm concentration and 51% lower total sperm count than the men of non-smoking fathers (p = 0.02 and 0.003, respectively). This was robust to the additional adjustment.
Our results suggest a negative association between paternal smoking and sperm counts in the sons, independent of the level maternal nicotine exposure during the pregnancy.
Animal studies indicate that some phthalate metabolites may harm female reproductive function.
We assessed the associations between exposure to phthalate metabolites and pregnancy loss.
Using a previously established cohort of couples planning their first pregnancy, we analyzed four primary and two oxidized secondary phthalate metabolites in urine samples collected on day 10 after the first day of the last menstrual period before conception occurred (n = 128) and during the previous cycle (if any, n = 111). Subclinical embryonal loss was identified by repeated measurement of urinary human chorionic gonadotropin, and information on clinical spontaneous abortions was obtained by telephone interview with the mother.
Pregnancy loss (n = 48) was increased among women with urinary concentration of monoethylhexyl phthalate (MEHP) in the upper tertile in the conception sample compared with women in the lowest tertile [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 2.9; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1, 7.6]. The corresponding OR for subclinical embryonal loss (n = 32) was 40.7 (95% CI: 4.5, 369.5).
The phthalate metabolite MEHP was associated with higher occurrence of pregnancy loss. Because this is the first human study to show this association and the sample size is small, the findings need to be corroborated in independent studies.
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Toluene diisocyanate (TDI) is used in the manufacture of polyurethane and is a potent inducer of diseases of the airways. In this study, 2,4- and 2,6-toluenediamine in hydrolyzed urine and plasma were evaluated as biomarkers of exposure to 2,4- and 2,6-TDI, respectively.
For 81 exposed workers from nine different plants, the personal 8-hour time-weighted-average exposure to TDI was monitored by a filter method with 1-(2-methoxyphenyl)piperazine. In parallel, urinary samples (U1) were collected during the last 4 hours of the workshift. On a different occasion, blood samples and additional urinary samples (U2) were collected from the exposed workers, and also from a reference group consisting of 121 unexposed workers. The biomarker levels were determined in urine and plasma by the use of alkaline hydrolysis.
There were strong associations between the personal air and biomarker levels, with correlation coefficients in the range of 0.75-0.88 for the U1 samples and in the range of 0.50-0.78 for the plasma samples. By weighted linear regression, the relations were calculated between the air and biomarker levels. The slopes of the obtained regression curves ranged from 1.8 to 2.7 m3/1 for air-urine and from 2.2 to 2.9 m3/1 for air-plasma, and the intercepts were all close to the origin of the coordinates. Through the extrapolation of these regression curves, biological exposure limits were calculated.
The biological monitoring methods and strategies presented in this report are useful for assessing exposure to TDI in practice.
Erratum In: Scand J Work Environ Health. 2005 Feb;31(1):84
Exposure to diisocyanates is a known occupational hazard. One method for monitoring occupational exposure is by analyzing biomarkers in hydrolyzed urine and plasma. The half-life of the biomarkers in plasma is about 3 weeks, and the urinary elimination is divided into one fast (hours) and one slow phases (weeks). Polymorphism in glutathione S-transferase enzymes (GST) is earlier shown to modify the metabolism. The aim of the study was to assess whether biomarkers of exposure in urine collected after two non-exposed days correlate with levels in plasma and whether they can be used as a measure for long-term exposure to aromatic diisocyanates and further whether polymorphisms in GST influenced the correlations.
Biomarkers of exposure was analyzed in urine and blood samples collected from 24 workers, exposed to at least one of toluene-, methylenediphenyl- or naphthalene diisocyanate, on a Monday morning after at least two unexposed days. Moreover, genotype was determined for 19 of the workers.
The corresponding specific gravity-adjusted biomarkers in urine and plasma levels for the different diisocyanates correlated well (r between 0.689 and 0.988). When taking all samples together, the correlation coefficient was 0.926. Polymorphism in the GSTM1 genotype seemed to modify the association.
Urine collected after two unexposed days can possibly be used as long-term biomarker of exposure for aromatic diisocyanates.
Self-reported data on smoking during pregnancy from the Medical Birth Register of Sweden (MBR) are widely used. However, underreporting of such behavior may occur, leading to biases. It is of importance to validate the smoking data in the MBR. The main objective was to investigate the agreement between self-reported smoking data from the MBR and cotinine levels in maternal serum among women from the general population in the region of Skåne, Sweden. We also estimated the transfer of cotinine from mother to fetus.
From a cohort used previously to investigate the relationship between intrauterine environmental exposures and offspring neuropsychiatric outcomes, there were 204 control children retrieved from the MBR with data on maternal smoking in early pregnancy registered. Data on maternal and umbilical cord cotinine at delivery were available for these children from a regional biobank.
There was a high agreement between cotinine levels and MBR smoking data (? = 0.82) and a high correlation between cotinine levels in maternal and umbilical cord serum (r s = 0.90, P
Unit of Cellular & Molecular Toxicology, Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Institute of Public Health, University of Aarhus, Vennelyst Boulevard 6, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. firstname.lastname@example.org
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furans, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides can cause a series of adverse effects on e.g. reproduction in animals and humans, many of which involve the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). The aim of the present study was to compare the integrated serum level of AhR mediated activity among European and Inuit populations, and evaluate whether the activity was associated to the selected POP markers, 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB-153) and 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-ethylene (p,p'-DDE).
The study included 338 males from Greenland (Inuit's), Sweden, Warsaw (Poland) and Kharkiv (Ukraine). The AhR transactivity of serum extracts alone (AhRag) and competitive AhR activity (AhRcomp) upon co-exposure with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) were determined in the lipophilic serum fraction containing the POPs using the AhR mediated luciferase reporter Hepa1.12cR cell assay.
The European groups showed higher median level of AhR-TEQ (TCDD toxic equivalents) compared to the Inuit's, whereas higher incidence of Inuits sample further induced AhRcomp activity. Neither AhRag nor AhR-TEQ were correlated to CB-153 or p,p'-DDE for any of the study groups. Multiple regressions showed a significant heterogeneity of association between the CB-153 and the AhRcomp across the study groups, and accordingly a negative association between AhRcomp and CB-153 was found for the Kharkiv group.
No consistent correlation between AhR activities and two POP markers was found. Although the difference of AhRag between European and Inuit men could not be explained by CB-153 or p,p'-DDE levels alone, we believe that the variation of AhR serum activity reflects different pattern of POP exposure, genetics and/or life style factors.
Phthalates and phenolic substances were investigated in urine samples from first-time mothers in Uppsala, Sweden, collected between 2009 and 2014. These substances have a comparably fast metabolism and urinary metabolites are predominantly analysed. The main aim was to investigate if measures to decrease production and use of certain phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) have resulted in decreased human exposure, and to determine if exposures to replacement chemicals have increased. Temporal trends were evaluated for metabolites (n=13) of seven phthalates, a phthalate replacer, four different bisphenols, triclosan, one organophosphate-based flame retardant, and for two pesticides. The results showed downward trends of several phthalates which are in the process of being regulated and phased out. Concomitantly, an increasing trend was seen for a metabolite of the phthalate replacer Di-iso-nonylcyclohexane 1,2-dicarboxylate (DiNCH). Bisphenol A (BPA) showed a downward trend, whereas bisphenol F, identified as one of the substitutes for BPA, showed an increasing trend. The decreasing trend of triclosan is likely due to declining use within the EU. Temporal trend studies of urine samples make it possible to investigate human exposure to rapidly metabolised substances and study how measures taken to regulate and replace problematic chemicals affect human exposure.
OBJECTIVES: This study investigated the exposure-response relationships of hexahydrophthalic anhydride (HHPA) and methylhexahydrophthalic anhydride (MHHPA) and evaluated the applicability of the total plasma protein adducts (TPPA) of these anhydrides as biomarkers of exposure and risk. METHODS: In a cross-sectional study of 139 workers in a plant manufacturing electrical capacitors, the long-term exposure to HHPA and MHHPA was assessed through the quantification of TPPA using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Smoking and medical histories were obtained through questionnaires. Work-related symptoms of the eyes and airways were recorded. Specific immunoglobulin (Ig) E (radioallergosorbent test) and IgG (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) were determined in serum. RESULTS: The mean level of the TPPA of HHPA was 840 fmol/ml and that of the TPPA of MHHPA was 1700 fmol/ml. There was no correlation between the TPPA of HHPA and the TPPA of MHHPA. Of all the workers, 19% were found to be positive for specific IgE and 17-19% for IgG. Positive associations were observed between HHPA exposure and specific IgE and IgG and between MHHPA exposure and specific IgG. Regarding work-related symptoms, 27% of the workers had symptoms of the nose, 21% had symptoms of the eyes, 11% had symptoms of the lower airways, and 8% had nose bleeding. There were significant exposure-response relationships for symptoms of the eyes and nose for HHPA exposure. CONCLUSIONS: The results show that there is an exposure-response relationship for HHPA both with specific antibodies and with work-related symptoms and down to adduct levels of 40 fmol/ml plasma. In addition, the results elucidate the potential power of TPPA as a relevant index of exposure and risk.
Municipal drinking water contaminated with perfluorinated alkyl acids had been distributed to one-third of households in Ronneby, Sweden. The source was firefighting foam used in a nearby airfield since the mid-1980s. Clean water was provided from 16 December 2013.
To determine the rates of decline in serum perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), and their corresponding half-lives.
Up to seven blood samples were collected between June 2014 and September 2016 from 106 participants (age 4-84 years, 53% female).
Median initial serum concentrations were PFHxS, 277?ng/mL (range 12-1660); PFOS, 345?ng/mL (range 24-1500); and PFOA, 18?ng/mL (range 2.4-92). The covariate-adjusted average rates of decrease in serum were PFHxS, 13% per year (95%?CI 12% to 15%); PFOS, 20% per year (95%?CI 19% to 22%); and PFOA, 26% per year (95%?CI 24% to 28%). The observed data are consistent with a first-order elimination model. The mean estimated half-life was 5.3 years (95%?CI 4.6 to 6.0) for PFHxS, 3.4 years (95%?CI 3.1 to 3.7) for PFOS and 2.7 years (95%?CI 2.5 to 2.9) for PFOA. The interindividual variation of half-life was around threefold when comparing the 5th and 95th percentiles. There was a marked sex difference with more rapid elimination in women for PFHxS and PFOS, but only marginally for PFOA.
The estimated half-life for PFHxS was considerably longer than for PFOS and PFOA. For PFHxS and PFOS, the average half-life is shorter than the previously published estimates. For PFOA the half-life is in line with the range of published estimates.