You are here

Exposure to parabens and prevalence of obesity and metabolic syndrome: An analysis of the Canadian Health Measures Survey

TitleExposure to parabens and prevalence of obesity and metabolic syndrome: An analysis of the Canadian Health Measures Survey
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsKim, J., and Chevrier J.
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Keywordsbiomonitoring, bmi, body mass index, canadian health measures survey, chms, endocrine disruption, environmental exposure, geometric mean, gm, hdl, high-density lipoprotein, interquartile range, iqr, limit of detection, lod, metabolic syndrome, national health and nutrition examination survey, nhanes, obesity, parabens, pr, prevalence ratio, se, standard error, u.s., united states

Highlights * Parabens are common preservatives that can interfere with the endocrine system. * Human exposure to parabens is ubiquitous. * Parabens were associated with metabolic syndrome among adult men. * Inverse associations were found with obesity, metabolic syndrome and HDL in women. * No associations with obesity or metabolic indicators were found in children. Abstract Background Parabens are group of widely used preservative agents in the cosmetic, food, and pharmaceutical industries. They are estrogenic and anti-androgenic, and thus have the potential to alter the hormonal regulation of energy metabolism, and in turn affect obesity and metabolic health. Compared to obesity alone, having metabolic syndrome (a cluster of cardiometabolic risk factors) further increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. We examined whether exposure to parabens was associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome or its components among Canadians. Methods Methyl, ethyl, propyl, and butyl paraben concentrations were measured in the urine of 2,564 individuals participating in Cycle 4 (2014-2015) of the Canadian Health Measures Survey, a national biomonitoring survey. We assessed associations between specific gravity-corrected log10-transformed paraben concentrations and obesity, metabolic syndrome and its components (waist circumference, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting blood glucose and blood pressure) via Poisson regression with robust variance estimators for binary outcomes and via linear regression for outcomes expressed continuously. We stratified analyses by age (children aged 3 to 17 years vs. adults aged 18 years and older) and investigated the presence of effect modification by sex. Results A 10-fold increase in propyl paraben concentration was associated with a 40% (95% CI: 3, 90) higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome among men, while ethyl paraben was associated with a 63% (95% CI: 2, 86) lower prevalence among women. Among women, methyl paraben was inversely associated with obesity, and methyl, propyl and ethyl parabens were associated with higher high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. No associations were observed among children. Conclusions This is the first study to report a positive association between parabens and metabolic syndrome in men. Protective associations among women previously reported for obesity were also observed for metabolic syndrome and HDL cholesterol. These results should be confirmed in longitudinal studies.