In Utero Exposure to Flame Retardants Tied to Worse Birth Outcomes

Organophosphate esters tied to premature birth and higher birth weight
In Utero Exposure to Flame Retardants Tied to Worse Birth Outcomes
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

MONDAY, Feb. 5, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Gestational exposures to several organophosphate esters (OPEs) are associated with earlier timing of birth, especially among female neonates, or with greater fetal growth, according to a study published online Jan. 24 in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Jiwon Oh, Ph.D., from the University of California Davis, and colleagues assessed associations between gestational OPE exposures and adverse birth outcomes. The analysis included data from 6,646 pregnant participants from 16 cohorts in the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes Program.

The researchers found that three OPE biomarkers (diphenyl phosphate [DPHP], a composite of dibutyl phosphate and di-isobutyl phosphate [DBUP/DIBP], and bis [1,3-dichloro-2-propyl] phosphate) were detected in >85 percent of participants. DBUP/DIBP (odds ratio [OR] per doubling, 1.07) and bis(butoxyethyl) phosphate (odds ratio for high versus nondetect, 1.25) were associated with higher odds of preterm birth, but other OPE biomarkers were not. The adverse effect for associations of DPHP and high bis(2-chloroethyl) phosphate with completed gestational weeks and odds of preterm birth were seen among females. Newborns of mothers with detectable bis(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate, bis(2-methylphenyl) phosphate, and dipropyl phosphate had higher birth weight-for-gestational-age z scores (β for detect versus nondetect, 0.04 to 0.07).

"Our findings guide our understanding of how these chemicals may be silently seeding lasting challenges for the health of the next generation," Oh said in a statement.

Several authors reported consulting for relevant organizations.

Abstract/Full Text

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