Maternal urinary benzophenones and infant birth size: Identifying critical windows of exposure

Jinlie Long, Wei Xia, Jiufeng Li, Yanqiu Zhou, Hongzhi Zhao, Chuansha Wu, Jiaqiang Liao, Yangqian Jiang, Chunhui Li, Yuanyuan Li, Xinping Li, Xiaojie Sun, Sha Huang, Zongwei CAI, Shunqing Xu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Benzophenones (BPs) are widely used as ultraviolet absorbers and fragrance retention agents. Evidences from animal studies have suggested that exposure to BPs may affect fetal growth, but human data is limited and no study is concerning critical windows of BPs exposure throughout pregnancy in relation to fetal growth. We aimed to investigate the associations of prenatal exposure to BPs with birth size and examine the critical exposure windows of fetus development. We measured BPs (including 2,4-dihydroxybenzophenone (BP-1), 2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone (BP-3) and 4-hydroxybenzophenone (4-OH-BP)) in maternal urine samples collected in the first, second, and third trimester from 847 mothers recruited in Wuhan, China. The general estimation equations were used to analyze the relationships between maternal exposure to BPs levels and birth size. In all newborns, we found each log unit increase in maternal urinary concentrations of BP-1 and 4-OH-BP in the 1st trimester were associated with decreases in birth length by 0.06 cm (95% confidence interval (CI): −0.11, −0.01) and 0.08 cm (95% CI: −0.15, −0.01), respectively, but only the association with BP-1 in the boys remained significant in the stratified analysis by infant sex. In girls, urinary concentrations of BP-1 and BP-3 in the 3rd trimester were associated with decreased birth weight (adjusted β = −27.99 g, 95% CI: −50.66, −5.31 and −19.75 g, 95% CI: −37.31, −2.19, respectively) and length (adjusted β = −0.08 cm, 95% CI: −0.17, 0.00 and −0.08 cm, 95% CI: −0.15, −0.02) (p for interaction = 0.04). Our findings indicate that maternal urinary levels of BPs in the early and late periods during pregnancy may have impacts on delayed fetal growth, and the effects were more pronounced in girls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-661
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Benzophenones
  • Birth size
  • Critical exposure windows
  • Sex-specific
  • Trimester


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