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Chemosphere. 2013 Sep;93(2):217-22. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.04.067. Epub 2013 May 25.

Parental phenols exposure and spontaneous abortion in Chinese population residing in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Institute of Toxicology, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029, China.


Widespread use of phenols has led to ubiquitous exposure to phenols. In experimental animals, phenols increased resorptions, reduced live litter size and fetal body weights. However, there are limited epidemiological evidences of the relationships between exposure to phenols and pregnancy outcomes. We evaluated the associations between parental urinary levels of various phenols and spontaneous abortion in a Chinese population residing in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. A case-control study was conducted that included 70 case couples with medically unexplained spontaneous abortion and 180 control couples who did not have a history of spontaneous abortion and had at least one living child. Both parental urinary phenols were measured by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry including bisphenol A (BPA), benzophenone-3 (BP-3), 2,3,4-trichlorophenol (2,3,4-TCP), pentachlorophenol (PCP), 4-n-octylphenol (4-n-OP) and 4-n-nonylphenol (4-n-NP). Compared with the low exposure group, there was an increased risk of spontaneous abortion with high paternal urinary PCP concentration [odds ratio (OR)=2.09, 95% Confidence Interval (CI), 1.05-4.14], and maternal exposure to 4-n-OP and alkylphenol(s) also significantly increased the risk of spontaneous abortion (OR=2.21, 95% CI, 1.02-4.80; OR=2.81, 95% CI, 1.39-5.65, respectively). Our study firstly provides the evidence that paternal PCP exposure, maternal 4-n-OP and alkylphenol(s) exposure are associated with spontaneous abortion in humans.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


2,3,4-TCP; 2,3,4-trichlorophenol; 4-n-NP; 4-n-OP; 4-n-Octylphenol; 4-n-nonylphenol; 4-n-octylphenol; APEs; APs; BMI; BP-3; BPA; CI; CR; LODs; ORs; PCP; Parental urinary exposure; Pentachlorophenol; Spontaneous abortion; UPLC–MS/MS; WHO; World Health Organization; alkylphenol polyoxyethylene ethers; alkylphenols; benzophenone-3; bisphenol A; body mass index; confidence interval; creatinine; limits of detection; odds ratios; pentachlorophenol; ultra high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

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