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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2011 Sep-Oct;33(5):558-66. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Aug 10.

Prenatal exposure to bisphenol A and phthalates and infant neurobehavior.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229-3039, United States.



To examine the association of prenatal exposure to bisphenol A and select common phthalates with infant neurobehavior measured at 5 weeks.


We compared the concentration of maternal urinary metabolites of bisphenol A and phthalates at two distinct time points in pregnancy (16w, 26w) with scores on the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale (NNNS) at 5 weeks of age in a cohort of 350 mother/infant pairs.


Prenatal exposure to BPA was not significantly associated with neurobehavioral outcomes at 5 weeks. Significant associations between prenatal exposure to measured phthalates and infant neurobehavioral outcomes differed by type of phthalate and were only seen with exposure measured at 26 weeks. Higher total di-butyl phthalate (DBP) metabolites at 26w were associated with improved behavioral organization evidenced by decreased arousal (p=.04), increased self-regulation (p=.052), and decreased handling (p=.02). In males, higher total di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) metabolites at 26w were associated with more nonoptimal reflexes (p=.02).


The association between prenatal phthalate exposure and infant neurobehavior differed by type of phthalate and was evident only with exposure measured at 26w. Prenatal exposure to DBP was associated with improved behavioral organization in 5-week-old infants. Prenatal exposure to DEHP was associated with nonoptimal reflexes in male infants. There was no evidence of an association between prenatal BPA exposure and infant neurobehavior.

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