Serum PFAS and Urinary Phthalate Biomarker Concentrations and Bone Mineral Density in 12-19 Year Olds: 2011-2016 NHANES

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Endocrinology, Pediatrics

Journal Title

The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism

MeSH Headings

Adolescent; Adult; Bayes Theorem; Biomarkers; Bone Density; Child; Cross-Sectional Studies; Environmental Pollutants; Female; Fluorocarbons; Humans; Male; Nutrition Surveys; Phthalic Acids; Young Adult


CONTEXT: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and phthalates are 2 families of environmental endocrine disruptors that may be associated with areal lower bone mineral density (aBMD). OBJECTIVE: To examine associations between serum PFAS and urinary phthalate biomarker concentrations and their mixtures with aBMD Z-scores in adolescents. DESIGN, PATIENTS, AND MEASURES: We examined serial cross-sectional data from male (n = 453) and female (n = 395) 12- to 19-year-old participants in the 2011 through 2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey with measures of serum PFAS, urinary phthalate metabolites, and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry aBMD Z-scores (total body less head). In sex-specific models, we used linear regression to examine associations of individual PFAS and phthalate biomarkers with aBMD Z-scores, and Bayesian kernel machine regression to examine the association of the overall PFAS/phthalate biomarker mixture with aBMD Z-scores. We replicated the analysis, stratifying by race/ethnicity. RESULTS: Participants were (mean ± SD) 15 ± 2.1 years of age. In males, each doubling of serum perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate, urinary mono-isobutyl phthalate (MiBP), mono-n-butyl phthalate, and the overall PFAS/phthalate mixture was associated with a lower aBMD Z-score (eg, for PFOA: -0.24; 95% CI, -0.41 to -0.06). Serum PFOA and urinary MiBP were associated with higher aBMD Z-scores in females (eg, for PFOA: 0.09; 95% CI, -0.07 to 0.25). Findings did not differ by race/ethnicity. CONCLUSIONS: Certain PFAS and phthalates may be associated with reduced bone mineral density in adolescent males. Bone mineral density tracks across the life course, so if replicated in longitudinal cohorts, this finding may have implications for lifelong skeletal health.

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