These studies compared the reproductive toxicity of four phthalates by a continuous breeding protocol. Mice were given diets with diethyl phthalate (DEP) (0.0, 0.25, 1.25, or 2.5%), di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) (0.0, 0.03, 0.3, or 1.0%), di-n-hexyl phthalate (DHP) (0.0, 0.3, 0.6, or 1.2%), or di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) (0.0, 0.01, or 0.3%). Both male and female CD-1 mice were dosed for 7 days prior to and during a 98-day cohabitation period. Reproductive function was evaluated during the cohabitation period by measuring the numbers of litters per pair and of live pups per litter, pup weight, and offspring survival. There was no apparent effect on reproductive function in the animals exposed to DEP, despite significant effects on body weight gain and liver weight. DBP exposure resulted in a reduction in the numbers of litters per pair and of live pups per litter and in the proportion of pups born alive at the 1.0% amount, but not at lower dose levels. A crossover mating trial demonstrated that female mice, but not males, were affected by DBP, as shown by significant decreases in the percentage of fertile pairs, the number of live pups per litter, the proportion of pups born alive, and live pup weight. DHP in the diet resulted in dose-related adverse effects on the numbers of litters per pair and of live pups per litter and proportion of pups born alive at 0.3, 0.6, and 1.2% DHP in the diet. A crossover mating study demonstrated that both sexes were affected. DEHP (at 0.1 and 0.3%) caused dose-dependent decreases in fertility and in the number and the proportion of pups born alive. A crossover mating trial showed that both sexes were affected by exposure to DEHP. These data demonstrate the ability of the continuous breeding protocol to discriminate the qualitative and quantitative reproductive effects of the more and less active congeners as well as the large differences in reproductive toxicity attributable to subtle changes in the alkyl substitution of phthalate esters. © 1987.
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