Phthalate concentrations in house dust in relation to autism spectrum disorder and developmental delay in the CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) study Children's Environmental Health

Claire Philippat, Deborah H Bennett, Paula Krakowiak, Melissa Rose, Hyun Min Hwang, Irva Hertz-Picciotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that influence thyroid hormones and sex steroids, both critical for brain development. Aim: We studied phthalate concentrations in house dust in relation to the risks of developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or developmental delay (DD). Methods: Participants were a subset of children from the CHARGE (CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment) case-control study. ASD and DD cases were identified through the California Department of Developmental Services system or referrals; general population controls were randomly sampled from state birth files and frequency-matched on age, sex, and broad geographic region to ASD cases. All children (50 ASD, 27 DD, 68 typically developing (TD)) were assessed with Mullen Scales of Early Learning, Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VABS) and Aberrant Behavior Checklist. We measured 5 phthalates in dust collected in the child's home using a high volume small surface sampler. Results: None of the phthalates measured in dust was associated with ASD. After adjustment, we observed greater di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and butylbenzyl phthalate (BBzP) concentrations in indoor dust from homes of DD children: Odds ratios (OR) were 2.10 (95 % confidence interval (CI); 1.10; 4.09) and 1.40 (95 % CI; 0.97; 2.04) for a one-unit increase in the ln-transformed DEHP and BBzP concentrations, respectively. Among TD children, VABS communication, daily living, and adaptive composite standard scores were lower, in association with increased diethyl phthalate (DEP) concentrations in dust. Participants with higher dibutyl phthalate (DBP) concentrations in house dust also trended toward reduced performance on these subscales. Among ASD and DD boys, higher indoor dust concentrations of DEP and DBP were associated with greater hyperactivity-impulsivity and inattention. Discussion and conclusion: House dust levels of phthalates were not associated with ASD. The inability to distinguish past from recent exposures in house dust and the fact that house dust does not capture exposure from all sources, limit the interpretation of both positive and null findings and further work is needed. However, the associations observed for DEP and DBP with impairments in several adaptive functions and greater hyperactivity, along with evidence for increased risk of DD raise concerns that these chemicals may affect neurodevelopment in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number56
JournalEnvironmental Health: A Global Access Science Source
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 26 2015

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Developmental delay
  • Home dust
  • Phthalates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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