Background/Aim: Phthalate is a well-known endocrine-disrupting chemical that has anti-androgenic effects. Although there are several studies on the relationship between body composition and phthalate, studies that investigated the effects of phthalate on skeletal muscle during childhood are lacking. Methods: We analyzed data from 481 mother-and-child pairs enrolled in the Environment and Development of Children cohort in South Korea. We examined the association between phthalate metabolites (mono [2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl] phthalate [MEHHP], mono [2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl] phthalate [MEOHP], molar sum of MEHHP and MEOHP [Σ DEHP], and mono-n-butyl phthalate [MnBP]) in prenatal maternal urine and children's urine at the age of 6, and body composition indices (body mass index [BMI] z-score, percentage of fat mass, fat mass index, percentage of skeletal muscle, and the skeletal muscle index [SMI]) measured when the child was 6 years using a bioelectrical impedance analyzer. Results: A 2-fold increase in Σ DEHP and MnBP in the prenatal maternal urine was significantly associated with a −0.07 unit (95% CI: −0.11, −0.03) and −0.09 unit (95% CI: −0.14, −0.03) change in SMI, respectively, in 6-year old girls alone. BMI z-score was also negatively associated with a 2-fold increase in MEHHP and MnBP in prenatal maternal urine as −0.11 unit (95% CI: −0.22, −0.01) and −0.15 unit (95% CI: −0.28, −0.02) change, respectively, only among girls. Among boys, phthalate metabolites in the prenatal and children's urine were not significantly associated with any body composition indices. Conclusions: Our longitudinal study shows that high levels of prenatal exposure to phthalates are significantly associated with decreased SMI among girls. We can postulate that anti-androgenic effects of phthalates during pregnancy may affect girl offspring's muscle growth.
- Skeletal muscle