Volume 10 Supplement 1

Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting 2013

Open Access

Phthalate exposures in a Canadian birth cohort at three months of age: the CHILD study

  • Huan Shu1, 2Email author,
  • Ryan Allen2,
  • Carl-Gustaf Bornehag1,
  • Michael Brauer3,
  • Jeff Brook4,
  • Bruce Lanphear2,
  • Sheela Sathyanarayana5,
  • Malcolm Sears6,
  • Leilei Zeng7,
  • Tim Takaro2 and
  • the CHILD Environmental Working Group4
Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology201410(Suppl 1):A56


Published: 3 March 2014


Exposure to phthalates has been associated with the development of wheeze and asthma. While infants may be exposed via multiple routes, the sources of infant exposure aren’t fully understood.


We employed the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study, a multicentre, longitudinal, population-based birth cohort with 3,300 children to identify sources of phthalate exposures in infants. For the first 1,539 CHILD participants we examined associations between 6 urinary phthalate metabolites, measured at 3 months of age and corrected for specific gravity, with 90 variables characterizing the indoor environment, including furnishings, household care products and personal care products. Univariate, Bivariate, and Tobit regression were used for modeling. We also examined the relationship of urinary phthalates with socio-demographic characteristics and breastfeeding.


Overall, there were 32 variables associated with higher concentrations and 20 inverse associations. We found higher urinary phthalates among children whose families used oven cleaners (Mono-n-butyl phthalate (β=7%, 95%CI: 2-15%), Mono-benzyl phthalate (β=15%, 5-26%), and Mono-ethyl phthalate (15%, 5-26%)) and air fresheners (Mono-n-butyl phthalate (4%, 2-10%), Mono-benzyl phthalate (10%, 5-15%), and Mono-ethyl phthalate (10%, 5-17%)), or who heated food in hard plastic (Mono-n-butyl phthalate (32%, 15-48%), Mono-2-ethyl-5-hydroxylhexyl phthalate (29%, 7-51%). Soft vinyl flooring was highly correlated with Mono-benzyl phthalate (58%, 35-91%). Mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, Mono-2-ethyl-5-hydroxylhexyl phthalate, and Mono-2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl phthalate concentrations were lower in children who were breastfed. Household income was inversely associated with Mono-2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl phthalate concentrations.


Our analysis demonstrated higher levels of phthalate metabolites associated with use of household product and plastics. The identification of these exposures as possible contributors to phthalate body burden in three-month-old children is an important step in exposure categorization and supports efforts to reduce exposure.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Health Sciences, Karlstad University
Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia
Environment Canada
Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington
Department of Medicine, McMaster University
Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Waterloo


© Shu et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.