Key Laboratory of Public Health Safety of Ministry of Education, Collaborative Innovation Center of Social Risks Governance in Health, School of Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200032, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Phthalates are widespread endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that have been suggested to affect neurodevelopment. However, association between lactational exposure to phthalates and neurodevelopmental effects has rarely been reported in epidemiological studies. We conducted a pilot prospective study of 138 mother-infant pairs to evaluate whether lactational exposure to phthalates was associated with neurodevelopmental effects in infants. At baseline survey, the spot urine samples from both mothers and infants were collected for measuring ten metabolites of phthalates, and the food intake information of infants was assessed by the food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ). At the follow-up survey in 9 months of age, the neurodevelopmental Function of infants was assessed using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Edition 3 (ASQ-3). Multivariate logistic regression models were used to calculate the odds ratio (OR) for delayed development according to the level of exposure to phthalates. Our results indicated that MnBP and MiBP were high in lactating infants and mothers. In the overall study population, most metabolites showed positive associations with delayed development of most ASQ-3 domains. In male, MMP, MEP, MiBP and MnBP but not DEHP metabolites were significantly associated with increased odds of delayed development of all domains. In female, most LMWP metabolites and the four oxidative metabolites of DEHP were significantly associated with increased odds of delayed development of most domains. In conclusion, we found a significant negative association between lactational exposure to phthalates and ASQ-3 domains. Some of the sex-specific observations warrant further investigation. The dietary source of lactational phthalates exposure may not the breast milk or infant formula but the complementary food.