Prenatal Exposure to Multiple Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Childhood BMI Trajectories in the INMA Cohort Study

By Parisa Montazeri, Nuria Güil-Oumrait, Sandra Marquez, Lourdes Cirugeda, Andrea Beneito, Mònica Guxens, Aitana Lertxundi, Maria-Jose Lopez-Espinosa, Loreto Santa-Marina, Jordi Sunyer, Maribel Casas, and Martine Vrijheid
Environ Health Perspect
October 18, 2023
DOI: 10.1289/EHP11103


Prenatal exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may disrupt normal fetal and postnatal growth. Studies have mainly focused on individual aspects of growth at specific time points using single chemical exposure models. However, humans are exposed to multiple EDCs simultaneously, and growth is a dynamic process.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the associations between prenatal exposure to EDCs and children's body mass index (BMI) growth trajectories using single exposure and mixture modeling approaches.


Using data from the INfancia y Medio Ambiente (INMA) Spanish birth cohort (), prenatal exposure to persistent chemicals [hexachlorobenzene (HCB), 4-4'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB-138, -150, and -180), 4 perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)] and nonpersistent chemicals (8 phthalate metabolites, 7 phenols) was assessed using blood and spot urine concentrations. BMI growth trajectories were calculated from birth to 9 years of age using latent class growth analysis. Multinomial regression was used to assess associations for single exposures, and Bayesian weighted quantile sum (BWQS) regression was used to evaluate the EDC mixture's association with child growth trajectories.


In single exposure models exposure to HCB, DDE, PCBs, and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) were associated with increased risk of belonging to a trajectory of lower birth size followed by accelerated BMI gain by 19%-32%, compared with a trajectory of average birth size and subsequent slower BMI gain [e.g., relative risk ratio (RRR) per doubling in DDE (95% CI: 1.05, 1.35); RRR for (95% CI: 1.05, 1.66)]. HCB and DDE exposure were also associated with higher probability of belonging to a trajectory of higher birth size and accelerated BMI gain. Results from the BWQS regression showed the mixture was positively associated with increased odds of belonging to a BMI trajectory of lower birth size and accelerated BMI gain (odds ratio per 1-quantile increase of the ; credible interval: 1.03, 2.61), with HCB, DDE, and PCBs contributing the most.


This study provides evidence that prenatal EDC exposure, particularly persistent EDCs, may lead to BMI trajectories in childhood characterized by accelerated BMI gain. Given that accelerated growth is linked to a higher disease risk in later life, continued research is important.

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