Human exposure to a mixture of endocrine disruptors and serum levels of thyroid hormones: A cross-sectional study

Yongning Wu , Bing Yue , Shangyong Ning , Hongjian Miao , Congrong Fang , Jingguang Li , Lei Zhang , Yan Bao , Sai Fan , Yunfeng Zhao


Received May 28, 2021,Revised , Accepted January 14, 2022, Available online January 25, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 641-649

Exposure to endocrine disruptors (EDCs) could disrupt thyroid hormone homeostasis. However, human epidemiological studies reported inconsistent observations, and scarce information on the effect of a mixture of chemicals. The aim of the present study was to examine the associations of multiple chemicals with thyroid hormones among adults from China. We measured serum levels of thyroid hormones and urinary levels of 11 EDCs, including six phthalate metabolites, bisphenol A (BPA), bisphenol F (BPF), bisphenol S (BPS), perchlorate, and thiocyanate among 177 healthy adults without occupational exposure. Associations of multiple urinary analytes with serum thyroid hormones were examined by performing general linear regression analysis and bayesian kernal machine regression analysis. These EDCs were detected in almost all samples. After adjusting for various covariates, we observed only BPF significantly associated with total thyroxin (TT4) (β=-0.27, 95% confidence interval (CI) [-0.41, -0.14]), total triiodothyronine (TT3) (β=-0.02 95% CI [-0.03, -0.01]), free T4 (fT4) (β=-0.02, 95% CI [-0.03, -0.01]), and free T3 (fT3) (β=-0.04, 95% CI [-0.07, -0.01]), and mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (MEOHP) and monoethyl phthalate (MEP) positively associated with TT4 (β=0.24, 95% CI [0.01, 0.48]) and fT4 (β=0.02, 95% CI [0.01, 0.04]), respectively. Moreover, we observed significant dose-response relationships between TT4 and the mixture of 11 EDCs, and BPF was the main contributor to the mixture effect, suggesting the priority of potential effect of BPF on disrupting thyroid function under a real scenario of human exposure to multiple EDCs. Our findings supported the hypothesis that human exposure to low levels of EDCs could alter thyroid hormones homeostasis among non-occupational healthy adults.

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