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Prenatal exposure to phthalates is associated with decreased anogenital distance and penile size in male newborns

  • L. P. Bustamante-Montes (a1), M. A. Hernández-Valero (a2), D. Flores-Pimentel (a3), M. García-Fábila (a4), A. Amaya-Chávez (a5), D. B. Barr (a6) and V. H. Borja-Aburto (a7)...

Reproductive effects from phthalate exposure have been documented mostly in animal studies. This study explored the association between prenatal exposure to phthalate metabolites, anogenital distance and penile measurements in male newborns in Toluca, State of Mexico. A total of 174 pregnant women provided urine samples for phthalate analysis during their last prenatal visit, and the 73 who gave birth to male infants were included in the study. The 73 male newborns were weighed and measured using standardized methods after delivery. After adjusting for creatinine and supine length at birth, significant inverse associations were observed between an index of prenatal exposure to total phthalate exposure and the distance from the anus to anterior base of the penis (β = −0.191 mm per 1 μg/l, P = 0.037), penile width (β = −0.0414, P = 0.050) and stretched length (β = −0.2137, P = 0.034); prenatal exposure to mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate exposure was associated with a reduction in the stretched length of the penis (β = −0.2604, P = 0.050). Human exposure to phthalates is a public health concern, and the system most vulnerable to its potential effects seems to be the immature male reproductive tract.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Dr V. H. Borja-Aburto, Coordinación de Vigilancia Epidemiológica del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS), Mier y Pesado no. 120 Col. del Valle, Deleg. Benito Juárez, C.P. 03100, México D.F., México. (Email
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