Background Growth in the first year of life may already be predictive of growth and obesity later in childhood. Early life exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has been associated with obesity in children and older populations.
Objective To assess the association between prenatal exposure to various EDCs and child growth in the first year of life.
Methods Cord plasma or breast milk was used to determine exposure to amongst others dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), mono (2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (MEOHP), and mono (2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl) phthalate (MECPP). Data on weight and length until 11 months after birth was obtained. Mixed models were composed for each compound and health outcome. Exposure quartiles, time, and gender were added to the models as fixed effects. Subject was added as a random effect.
Results For MEOHP, boys in Q1 had a consistently higher BMI than higher exposed boys (p = 0.029). MECPP exposure was related to increased BMI over time in both boys and girls in Q1, though the association was not significant (p = 0.117). The effect of MECPP exposure on BMI was mainly due to weight, which was higher in the low exposed groups. For DDE interaction between time and exposure was significant (p = 0.078). For boys in particular, those with relatively low exposures had higher BMI curves during the first year.
Conclusion Low exposure to phthalates and DDE was associated with BMI during the first year after birth. Results were gender specific, and associations were mostly non-monotonic. Follow-up is warranted to see if these effects are persistent during childhood.