Determinants of urinary phthalate biomarker concentrations in pre- and perimenopausal women with consideration of race

Brad A. Ryva, Diana K. Haggerty, Diana C. Pacyga, Tamarra James-Todd, Zhong Li, Jodi A. Flaws, Rita S. Strakovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Objectives: Phthalates are endocrine disruptors in consumer plastics and personal care products. Our objectives were to identify determinants of phthalate biomarkers in women during the hormonally-sensitive midlife period, and to consider differences between non-Hispanic White and Black women. Methods: We used information from the Midlife Women's Health Study of pre- and peri-menopausal women from Baltimore, Maryland (enrolled 2006–2015). We collected sociodemographic/health information via baseline questionnaires or during clinic visits and measured nine phthalate metabolites in pools of 2–4 urines collected across one menstrual cycle. We calculated molar sums of metabolites to estimate exposure to di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (ΣDEHP), personal care product phthalates (ΣPCPs), and phthalates in plastics (ΣPlastics). Accounting for meaningful predictors from bivariable analyses, our multivariable linear regression models evaluated determinants of phthalate biomarkers in all women (n = 689), non-Hispanic White women only (n = 467), or non-Hispanic Black women only (n = 195). Results: In multivariable analyses of all women, those who were perimenopausal, widowed/divorced, non-Hispanic Black, with higher family income, with lower BMI, or who reported more frequent nausea had higher monoethyl phthalate (MEP) and ΣPCP. Non-Hispanic White women who were perimenopausal had lower mono-(3-carboxypropyl) phthalate (MCPP) and monobutyl phthalate (MBP), those who consume alcohol had higher mono-isobutyl phthalate (MiBP), and those with higher BMI had lower MEP and higher MCPP. Alternatively, widowed/divorced Black women had higher ΣDEHP, monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP), and ΣPlastics, whereas Black women with higher income had higher MEP and ΣPCP. Black women who described themselves as having “as much” physical activity as others or who reported a skin condition had lower MBzP and MCPP, respectively. Conclusion: We identified important determinants of phthalate biomarkers in midlife women and observed some differences by race. Future studies could consider reasons for these differences when developing interventions to reduce phthalate disparities and related health effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114056
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Black women
  • Determinant
  • Endocrine disruptor
  • Menopause
  • Phthalate
  • Predictor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Biochemistry


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