Prenatal exposures to mixtures of endocrine disrupting chemicals and sex-specific associations with children's BMI and overweight at 5.5 years of age in the SELMA study
By Katherine Svensson, Chris Gennings, Christian Lindh, Hannu Kiviranta, Panu Rantakokko, Sverre Wikström, and Carl-Gustaf Bornehag
August 30, 2023
Prenatal exposure to mixtures of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) has the potential to disrupt human metabolism. Prenatal periods are especially sensitive as many developmental processes are regulated by hormones. Prenatal exposure to EDCs has inconsistently been associated with children's body mass index (BMI) and obesity. The objective of this study was to investigate if prenatal exposure to a mixture of EDCs was associated with children's BMI and overweight (ISO-BMI ≥ 25) at 5.5 years of age, and if there were sex-specific effects.
A total of 1,105 mother-child pairs with complete data on prenatal EDCs concentrations (e.g., phthalates, non-phthalate plasticizers, phenols, PAH, pesticides, PFAS, organochlorine pesticides, and PCBs), children's measured height and weight, and selected covariates in the Swedish Environmental Longitudinal, Mother and child, Asthma and allergy (SELMA) study were included in this analysis. The mixture effect of EDCs with children's BMI and overweight was assessed using WQS regression with 100 repeated holdouts. A positively associated WQS index with higher BMI and odds of overweight was derived. Models with interaction term and stratified weights by sex was applied in order to evaluate sex-specific associations.
A significant WQS*sex interaction term was identified and associations for boys and girls were in opposite directions. Higher prenatal exposure to a mixture of EDCs was associated with lower BMI (Mean β = -0.19, 95%CI: -0.40, 0.01) and lower odds of overweight (Mean OR = 0.72, 95%CI: 0.48, 1.04) among girls with borderline significance. However, the association among boys did not reach statistical significance. Among girls, the possible chemicals of concern were MEP, 2-OHPH, BPF, BPS, DPP and PFNA.
Prenatal exposure to a mixture of EDCs was associated with lower BMI and overweight among girls, and non-significant associations among boys. Chemicals of concern for girls included phthalates, non-phthalate plasticizers, bisphenols, PAHs, and PFAS.