Phthalates exposure has been linked to multiple health risks, and US immigrants may have different exposures to phthalates due to lifestyle differences. Urinary concentrations of eight phthalate metabolites (mono-ethyl phthalate [MEP], mono-n-butyl phthalate [MnBP], mono-isobutyl phthalate [MiBP], mono-(3-carboxypropyl) phthalate [MCPP], mono-benzyl phthalate [MBzP], mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate [MEHP], mono-(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate [MEHHP], mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate [MEOHP]) were measured in 10318 US-born and 3511 foreign-born individuals from NHANES 1999–2014. Using multivariate adjusted linear regression, we assessed whether phthalate metabolite levels differed by nativity in the whole population, within racial/ethnic groups, and by years in the US. We also tested whether immigrant demographics predicted phthalate metabolite levels. In fully adjusted models, MEP, MnBP, and MiBP were significantly higher, and MBzP significantly lower, among immigrants than US-born participants. Among immigrants, MnBP and MiBP significantly declined with longer time in the US (Ptrend = 0.029 and Ptrend = 0.039, respectively), while MCPP and MBzP significantly rose (Ptrend = 0.019 and Ptrend = 0.043, respectively). Results within each racial/ethnic group were consistent with the whole population. Among immigrants, women had significantly higher metabolite levels than men (all p < 0.01), and MEP, MnBP, and MCPP differed by race/ethnicity. Due to higher phthalate exposures, immigrants may be especially vulnerable to phthalate-associated health problems.
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This study was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (R01ES026166 and T32ES007069).
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The authors declare that they have no actual or potential competing financial interests and that their freedom to design, conduct, interpret, and publish research is not compromised by any controlling sponsor.
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Mitro, S.D., Chu, M.T., Dodson, R.E. et al. Phthalate metabolite exposures among immigrants living in the United States: findings from NHANES, 1999–2014. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 29, 71–82 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41370-018-0029-x
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