79. Associations of prenatal urinary phthalate exposure with preterm birth: the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Study (abstract)

Hu J, Arbuckle TE, Janssen P, Lanphear BP, Braun J, Platt RW, Chen A, Fraser WD, McCandless LC. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2020 May 21. doi: 10.17269/s41997-020-00322-5


To examine the relation between prenatal urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations and preterm birth (PTB).


The data were drawn from the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Study, a pan-Canadian cohort of 1857 pregnant women enrolled between 2008 and 2011. We quantified urinary concentrations of 7 phthalate metabolites that were detected in > 70% of urine samples collected during the first trimester. Gestational age was obtained from either the last menstrual period or early ultrasound. We used Cox proportional hazard models to examine the associations of urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations, plus the molar sum of di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate metabolites (∑DEHP), with time to delivery before 37 weeks of gestation. We also examined PTB by clinical presentation. PTBs presented with either spontaneous labour or premature rupture of the membrane were considered spontaneous PTB (sPTB). Additionally, we used multiple linear regression to model changes in mean gestational age in relation to phthalate exposure.


We found no evidence of an association between first trimester phthalate metabolite concentrations and PTB among the MIREC study participants. For example, each 2-fold increase in any of the 7 phthalate concentrations or ∑DEHP was associated with hazard ratios (HRs) for PTB ranging from 0.95 to 1.07 with 95% confidence intervals including the null. An assessment of non-linear trends showed some evidence of non-monotonic dose-response relationships between phthalates and PTB. Furthermore, male infants exposed to MCPP showed higher sPTB risk compared with female infants.


Phthalate exposure during early pregnancy is not clearly associated with the risk of PTB among this Canadian population.