Prenatal exposure to plastic chemicals ups asthma risk in male offspring

09 Mar 2023
Prenatal exposure to plastic chemicals ups asthma risk in male offspring

Prenatal exposure to plastic-derived chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, tends to increase the risk of asthma, particularly in males, a study has shown.

A group of researchers conducted a cohort study to determine whether prenatal exposure to these compounds correlated with asthma, allergy, and lung function outcomes from early childhood into adulthood. They assayed maternal serum samples obtained from 846 pregnant women in the Raine Study for BPA and phthalates metabolites.

The research team then followed the children of these women at 5, 13, and 22 years, in which spirometry and respiratory questionnaires were carried out to identify the participants’ asthma and allergy status. Lung function trajectories were drawn from longitudinal spirometry measurements.

Finally, the interactions of individual and chemical mixtures with asthma phenotypes and lung function trajectories were examined using multinomial logistic regression and weighted quantile sum regression.

Male offspring exhibited prenatal BPA and phthalates effects on asthma phenotypes. Specifically, BPA significant correlated with a higher risk for persistent asthma, while mono-iso-butyl phthalate and mono-iso-decyl phthalate correlated with a higher risk for adult asthma.

In addition, prenatal exposure to BPA showed no impact on lung function trajectories. However, prenatal phthalate exposure demonstrated an association with improved lung function.

“Results suggest that prenatal exposure to … BPA and phthalates affect asthma risk, particularly in males; however, lung function was not adversely affected,” the researchers said.

“Environmental exposure to phthalates and BPA, chemicals used in the production of plastics, may increase risk for asthma and allergies,” they noted.

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