Using Meconium as an Alternative Matrix to Measure Cumulative Fetal Exposure to Phthalates Open Access

Fretheim, Anna Margot (2015)

Permanent URL:


Phthalate diesters are a class of synthetic chemicals that are widely used in industrial and consumer products. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors and exposure in all age groups has been linked to negative health outcomes. Developing fetuses are considered most vulnerable to their potential effects. The determination of prenatal exposure to phthalates and other compounds is difficult, with maternal exposure commonly used as a proxy. This is a preliminary study aimed to characterize the validity of using meconium as an alternative matrix for determining cumulative exposure to phthalates over half of pregnancy. We have developed a novel method for analyzing ten phthalate metabolites in meconium. 40 meconium samples underwent solid phase extraction and were analyzed via high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS). All ten metabolites were present at detectable levels in the majority of the meconium samples. Nine of the metabolites were compared to NHANES urinary concentrations in the general population and were found to be significantly higher in the meconium. We conclude that phthalate concentrations in meconium likely represent cumulative fetal exposure for over half of pregnancy.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

1.1. Phthalate Diesters

1.2. Health Effects

1.3. Biomonitoring

1.4. Meconium

2. Methods

2.1. Source of Samples

2.2. Basis of Method

2.3. Standards and Quality Control

2.4. Equipment and Materials

2.5. Procedure

2.6. HPLC-MS/MS Operating Conditions

2.7. Method Validation

2.8. Statistical Analysis

3. Results

3.1. Method Characteristics

3.1.1. Extraction Recovery Data

3.1.2. Precision and Accuracy

3.2. Method Application

3.2.1. Meconium Phthalate Levels

4. Discussion

4.1. Method

4.2. Limitations of Using Meconium as a Matrix

4.3. Phthalate Metabolite Concentrations

4.4. Conclusions and Future Directions

About this Master's Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Partnering Agencies
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files