Associations between urinary phthalate metabolites and bisphenol A levels, and serum thyroid hormones among the Korean adult population - Korean National Environmental Health Survey (KoNEHS) 2012-2014
BACKGROUND: Phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) have been used extensively in many consumer products, resulting in widespread exposure in the general population. Studies have suggested associations between exposure to phthalates and BPA, and serum thyroid hormone levels, but confirmation on larger human populations is warranted.
METHODS: Data obtained from nationally representative Korean adults (n=6003) recruited for the second round of the Korean National Environmental Health Survey (KoNEHS), 2012-2014, were employed. Three di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) metabolites, along with benzyl-butyl phthalate (BBzP) and di-butyl phthalate (DBP) metabolites, and BPA were measured in subjects' urine. Thyroxine (T4), total triiodothyronine (T3), and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) were measured in serum. The associations between urinary phthalates or BPA and thyroid hormone levels were determined.
RESULTS: Urinary phthalate metabolites were generally associated with lowered total T4 or T3, or increased TSH levels in serum. Interquartile range (IQR) increases of mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (MEOHP), and mono-(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate (MEHHP) were associated with a 3.7% increase of TSH, and a 1.7% decrease of total T4 levels, respectively. When grouped by sex, urinary MEHHP levels were inversely associated with T4 only among males. Among females, mono-benzyl phthalate (MBzP) and mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP) levels were inversely associated with TSH and T3, respectively. In addition, negative association between BPA and TSH was observed.
CONCLUSIONS: Several phthalates and BPA exposures were associated with altered circulatory thyroid hormone levels among general Korean adult population. Considering the importance of thyroid hormones, public health implications of such alteration warrant further studies.