Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Environmental Health Sciences

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 167 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Michael S Bloom

Committee Members

Beth J. J Feingold, Xiaobo X Romeiko


endocrine disruptors, exposure sources, infertility, phthalates, public health, reproductive health, Polychlorinated biphenyls, Environmental health, Mohawk Indians, People with disabilities

Subject Categories

Environmental Health | Public Health


Phthalates have been implicated as reproductive toxicants in animal models and in human populations. This study examined associations between potential exposure sources and urinary phthalate concentrations among couples undergoing infertility treatment. Women (n=56) and their male partners (n=43) undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) were enrolled in a prospective cohort investigation of environmental chemicals and IVF outcomes at an academic medical center. On the day of oocyte retrieval, participants provided urine samples and completed questionnaires detailing use of personal care products (PCPs), and consumption of medications, foods, and beverages in the preceding 24-hours. Urine was analyzed for MEP, MBP, MPP, MHxP, MEHP, MEHHP, MECPP, MiNP, MiDP, MCHP, and MBzP, via liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. We employed principal component analysis (PCA) to summarize exposure source variables using factors and regression models to estimate associations between the patterns of exposure and urinary phthalates, adjusted for confounding variables. Among women, application of lotions, serums, body wash, cleansers, and nail polish, and consumption of packaged beverages was associated with greater urinary MECPP [β= 0.31 (95% CI: 0.25, 0.37)] and the molar sum DEHP metabolites, including MEHP, MEHHP, and MECPP [∑DEHP; β= 0.23 (95% CI: 0.16, 0.29)]. Among men, daily supplement and allergy medication consumption was associated with greater urinary MECPP, MEHHP, and ∑DEHP concentrations, [β= 0.12 (95% CI: 0.02, 0.21)]. Identifying differences in sources of phthalate exposure among members of IVF couples may help clinicians intervene to reduce exposure as part of a comprehensive strategy to help improve IVF outcomes.