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Environ Res. 2015 Jul;140:360-8. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2015.04.010. Epub 2015 Apr 24.

Prenatal exposure to phthalates, bisphenol A and perfluoroalkyl substances and cord blood levels of IgE, TSLP and IL-33.

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Interdisciplinary PhD Program, Dalhousie University, IDPhD c/o Faculty of Graduate Studies, Room, 314 H Hicks Building, 6299 South Street, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 4H6. Electronic address:
Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Paediatrics, Dalhousie University, Perinatal Epidemiology Research Unit, 7th Floor Women's Site, IWK Health Centre, 5980 University Avenue, PO Box 9700, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 6R8. Electronic address:
Department of Community Health & Epidemiology, Dalhousie University, Centre for Clinical Research, 5790 University Avenue, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 1V7. Electronic address:
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University, Purvis Hall, 1020 Pine Avenue, West Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1A2. Electronic address:
Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Dalhousie University, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building, Room 7-C 5850 College Street, Halifax, NS, Canada. Electronic address:
Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Health Canada, 50 Colombine Dr., AL 0801A, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0K9. Electronic address:


The fetal time period is a critical window of immune system development and resulting heightened susceptibility to the adverse effects of environmental exposures. Epidemiologists and toxicologists have hypothesized that phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA) and perfluoroalkyl substance have immunotoxic properties. Immunotoxic effects of chemicals may manifest in an altered immune system profile at birth. Immunoglobulin E, thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), and interleukin-33 (IL-33) are integral in the etiology of childhood allergy and detectable at birth. The objective of this study was to determine the association between maternal levels of phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), and perfluoroalkyl substances and elevated umbilical cord blood levels of IgE, TSLP, and IL-33. This study utilized data collected in the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Study, a trans-Canada cohort study of 2001 pregnant women. Of these women, 1258 had a singleton, term birth and cord blood sample. A Bayesian hierarchical model was employed to determine associations between log-transformed continuous variables and immune system biomarkers while adjusting for potential confounding from correlated environmental contaminants. Inverse, nonlinear associations were observed between maternal urinary MCPP levels and elevated levels of both IL-33/TSLP and IgE and between maternal urinary BPA levels and elevated levels of IL-33/TSLP. In this primarily urban Canadian population of pregnant women and their newborns, maternal urinary and plasma concentrations of phthalate metabolites, BPA, and perfluoroalkyl substances were not associated with immunotoxic effects that manifest as increased odds of elevated levels of IgE, TSLP or IL-33.


Bisphenol A; Cohort study; Cytokines; Perfluoroalkyl substances; Phthalates

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