Phthalates are plasticizing agents present in different production cycles (plastics, rubber, paints, cosmetics), some of them have shown toxicity for reproduction. Infertility is a pathological condition with multifactorial aetiology, where exposure to chemicals can be an important component.Methods
It was conducted a case/control study by recruiting 172 couples within a centre for assisted fertilisation, to which were collected urine samples and was administered a questionnaire to frame clinical anamnesis, habits and styles life. The sample dropped to 87 women and 76 men, excluding those who had a diagnosis unrelated to potential exposure to xenoestrogens. The determination of urinary metabolites was conducted through the use of HPLC/MS/MS; for diethylhexylphthalateMethods
(DEHP) were monitored: mono (2ethylhexyl)-phthalate (MEHP) and mono(2-ethyl-5-hidroxyhexyl)-phthalate (MEHHP), for diethylphthalate (DEP) was monitored monoethylphtalate (MEP), for butylbenzylphthalate (BBzP) was monitored monobenzylphtalate (MBzP), for di-n-butylphthalate (DnBP) was monitored monobutylphtalate (MnBP). The results obtained were compared with those of 80 men and 90 women with at least one child obtained without hormonal therapy and with a time to pregnancy <12 months, paired by age.Results
The average levels of phthalate metabolites (μg/g creat) showed, by applying the test of Mann-Whitney, significant difference between cases and controls: for females MBzP 13.4 vs 2.0, MnBP 76.6 vs 3.0, MEHP and MEHHP 34.8 vs 7.2, MEP 569,.5 vs 198.0; for males MBzP 16.4 vs 3.4, MnBP 69.8 vs 9.1, MEHP and MEHHP 39.6 vs 9.1, MEP 340.6 vs 135.5. The analysis by the test of Wilcoxon showed that there is a significant difference between males and females (higher) in the values of MEP both between cases than controls.Conclusion
The interest in the characterisation of exposure to phthalates is certainly growing and the data obtained indicated a higher level, statistically significant, exposure in subjects with ipofertility. Risk source and clinical significance call for further investigations.