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Environ Health. 2019 Apr 2;18(1):28. doi: 10.1186/s12940-019-0459-5.

A repeated measures study of phenol, paraben and Triclocarban urinary biomarkers and circulating maternal hormones during gestation in the Puerto Rico PROTECT cohort.

Author information

Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Room 1835 SPH I, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-2029, USA.
Epidemiology Branch, Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Durham, USA.
Graduate School of Public Health, Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR, USA.
Department of Biostatistics, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
College of Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.
College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Room 1835 SPH I, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-2029, USA.



Prenatal exposure to some phenols and parabens has been associated with adverse birth outcomes. Hormones may play an intermediate role between phenols and adverse outcomes. We examined the associations of phenol and paraben exposures with maternal reproductive and thyroid hormones in 602 pregnant women in Puerto Rico. Urinary triclocarban, phenol and paraben biomarkers, and serum hormones (estriol, progesterone, testosterone, sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), total triiodothyronine (T3), total thyroxine (T4), free thyroxine (FT4) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)) were measured at two visits during pregnancy.


Linear mixed models with a random intercept were constructed to examine the associations between hormones and urinary biomarkers. Results were additionally stratified by study visit. Results were transformed to hormone percent changes for an inter-quartile-range difference in exposure biomarker concentrations (%Δ).


Bisphenol-S was associated with a decrease in CRH [(%Δ -11.35; 95% CI: -18.71, - 3.33), and bisphenol-F was associated with an increase in FT4 (%Δ: 2.76; 95% CI: 0.29, 5.22). Butyl-, methyl- and propylparaben were associated with decreases in SHBG [(%Δ: -5.27; 95% CI: -9.4, - 1.14); (%Δ: -3.53; 95% CI: -7.37, 0.31); (%Δ: -3.74; 95% CI: -7.76, 0.27)]. Triclocarban was positively associated with T3 (%Δ: 4.08; 95% CI: 1.18, 6.98) and T3/T4 ratio (%Δ: 4.67; 95% CI: -1.37, 6.65), and suggestively negatively associated with TSH (%Δ: -10.12; 95% CI: -19.47, 0.32). There was evidence of susceptible windows of vulnerability for some associations. At 24-28 weeks gestation, there was a positive association between 2,4-dichlorophenol and CRH (%Δ: 9.66; 95% CI: 0.67, 19.45) and between triclosan and estriol (%Δ: 13.17; 95% CI: 2.34, 25.2); and a negative association between triclocarban and SHBG (%Δ: -9.71; 95% CI:-19.1, - 0.27) and between bisphenol A and testosterone (%Δ: -17.37; 95% CI: -26.7, - 6.87).


Phenols and parabens are associated with hormone levels during pregnancy. Further studies are required to substantiate these findings.


Endocrine disruption; In-utero; Parabens; Phenols; Pregnancy; Reproductive hormones; Thyroid hormones; Triclocarban

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