A method based on extraction with acetonitrile, followed by solid-phase extraction, derivatization with acetic anhydride, and isotope dilution gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis was applied to determine levels of free and conjugated BPA in human tissues. β-Glucuronidase was used to de-conjugate the glucuronized BPA in the samples. The method was validated using various animal organ meat samples including pork liver and kidney, beef and calf liver, chicken liver and heart; recoveries were from 85% to 112% at two spiking levels. The average method limit of quantification (LOQ) was estimated at 0.77 ng/g for placenta samples and 1.2 ng/g for fetal liver samples based on 10 times the signal to noise ratio. BPA was detected in all animal tissue samples, with concentrations ranging from 1.8 ng/g in beef and calf livers to 17.1 ng/g in pork kidney. The method was used successfully to determine both free and conjugated BPA levels in human placental and fetal liver tissue samples. BPA was detected in 86% of the placental samples; concentrations of free BPA in the positive samples ranged from 0.60 ng/g to as high as 64 ng/g with an average of 9.5 ng/g and a median of 3.0 ng/g, and conjugated BPA was as high as 7.8 ng/g. BPA was also detected in most of the fetal liver samples (57%); concentrations of free BPA in the positive samples ranged from 1.3 to 27 ng/g with an average of 8.5 ng/g and a median of 3.2 ng/g. Conjugated BPA was also detected in most of the liver samples analysed for total BPA, ranging from 0.64 to 20 ng/g with an average of 3.9 ng/g and a median of 1.5 ng/g. This study, while primarily designed as a method validation, has demonstrated that BPA can be detected in human fetal liver samples as early as the third month of fetal life. Further work will be conducted to validate these preliminary findings.
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