Associations of maternal exposure to triclosan, parabens, and other phenols with prenatal maternal and neonatal thyroid hormone levels

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Abstract

Environmental phenols and parabens are commonly used in personal care products and other consumer products and human exposure to these chemicals is widespread. Although human and animal studies suggest an association between exposure to phenols and parabens and thyroid hormone levels, few studies have investigated the association of in utero exposure to these chemicals and thyroid hormones in pregnant women and their neonates. We measured four environmental phenols (triclosan, benzophenone-3, and 2,4- and 2,5-dichlorophenol), and three parabens (methyl-, propyl-, and butyl paraben) in urine collected from mothers at two time points during pregnancy as part of the CHAMACOS (Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas) study. We measured free thyroxine (T4), total T4, and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in serum of the pregnant women (N = 454) and TSH in their neonates (N = 365). We examined potential confounding by a large number of additional chemical exposures and used Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) to select the most influential chemicals to include in regression models. We observed negative associations of prenatal urinary concentrations of propyl paraben and maternal TSH (β for two-fold increase = −3.26%, 95% CI: −5.55, −0.90) and negative associations of 2,4-dichlorophenol and maternal free T4 (β for two-fold increase = −0.05, 95% CI: −0.08, −0.02), after controlling for other chemical exposures. We observed negative associations of triclosan with maternal total T4 after controlling for demographic variables, but this association became non-significant after controlling for other chemicals (β for two-fold increase = −0.05, 95% CI: −0.11, 0.00). We found evidence that environmental phenols and parabens are associated with lower TSH and free T4 in pregnant women after controlling for related chemical exposures.

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