Phthalates are ubiquitous endocrine disrupters which may cause potential health effects in general populations. We explored 3 scientific databases (PubMed, Medline, and ScienceDirect) to search epidemiological studies focused on phthalates exposure and the important health effects including endocrine, hormonal regulation of thyroid and steroid, reproductive effects, pregnancy, precocious puberty, obesity, and infertility in human. Some studies demonstrated negative association between phthalate levels and sex steroid hormones (testosterone, LH), thyroid hormones (thyroxine), sperm quality, anogenital distance, gestational age and neurodevelopment (cognitive function and intelligence quotient), although most of them have some limitations. A few studies showed positive association between phthalate levels and precocious puberty, pregnancy loss, obesity, leiomyoma, although results of some studies were not consistent. In summary, phthalates may affect reproductive and sex hormones, thyroid function and development. Although large-scale cohort studies are needed to clarify the association, it is necessary to reduce the phthalates exposure in pregnant women and young children to prevent unexpected consequences of reproductive and development effects in the offspring.

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