Variability and exposure classification of urinary phenol and paraben metabolite concentrations in reproductive-aged women

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Abstract

Background

Human exposure to phenols and parabens is widespread. Within-person variability of urinary concentrations in healthy women is not well characterized.

Objectives

To characterize the variability of urinary phenol and paraben concentrations across two months and evaluate the ability of a single spot urine sample to characterize exposure.

Methods

143 women provided 509 spot urine samples collected across two months of study (3–5 samples/woman). We measured urinary concentrations of 8 phenols: bisphenol A (BPA), benzophenone-3 (BP-3), benzophenone-1 (BP-1), 2,4-dichlorophenol (2,4-DCP), 2,5-dichlorophenol (2,5-DCP), 2,4,5-trichlorophenol (2,4,5-TCP), 2,4,6-trichlorophenol (2,4,6-TCP), triclosan (TCS); and 8 parabens and their metabolites (benzyl (BzP), butyl (BuP), ethyl (EtP), heptyl (HeP), methyl (MeP), propyl (PrP), 4-hydroxybenzoic acid (4-HB), 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid (3,4-DHB)). Biomarker variability was characterized using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and surrogate category analyses were conducted.

Results

ICCs ranged from very low for BPA (0.04) to moderate for BP-3, BP-1, TCS, BzP, and MeP (0.66, 0.58, 0.55, 0.54, and 0.62, respectively). Surrogate analyses suggested that BP-1, BP-3, TCS, 2,4-DCP, BuP, and PrP may be characterized by a single spot sample (sensitivity range 0.76–0.86) but that additional samples were necessary for BPA, HeP, 4-HB, and 3,4-DHB (sensitivity range 0.47–0.61).

Conclusions

Urinary phenol and paraben metabolite concentrations were variable across two months in healthy women but the degree of reliability differed by the specific biomarker. A small number of samples may sufficiently characterize typical concentrations for BP-3, BP-1, TCS, BuP, and PrP; but additional biospecimens may be necessary to characterize exposure for other compounds, including BPA.

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