Variability of urinary concentrations of bisphenol A in spot samples, first morning voids, and 24-hour collections

Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Jul;119(7):983-8. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1002701. Epub 2011 Mar 15.


Background: Human exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) is widespread. After exposure, BPA is rapidly metabolized and eliminated in urine. Therefore, there is considerable within-person and between-person variability of BPA concentrations in spot urine samples. However, no information exists on the within-day variability of urinary BPA concentrations.

Objectives: We examined the between-person and within-person and between-day and within-day variability in the urinary BPA concentrations of eight adults who collected all voids for 1 week to investigate the impact of sampling strategy in the exposure assessment of BPA using spot, first morning, or 24-hr urine collections.

Methods: We determined the urinary concentrations of BPA using on-line solid-phase extraction coupled to isotope dilution high-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry.

Results: The between-day and within-person variability was the primary contributor to the total variance both for first morning voids (77%) and 24-hr urine collections (88%). For the spot collections, we observed considerable within-day variance (70%), which outweighed the between-person (9%) and between-day and within-person (21%) variances.

Conclusions: Regardless of the type of void (spot, first morning, 24-hr collection), urinary BPA concentrations for a given adult changed considerably--both within a day and for the 7 days of the study period. Single 24-hr urine collections accurately reflect daily exposure but can misrepresent variability in daily exposures over time. Of interest, when the population investigated is sufficiently large and samples are randomly collected relative to meal ingestion times and bladder emptying times, the single spot-sampling approach may adequately reflect the average exposure of the population to BPA.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Environmental Pollutants / urine
  • Female
  • Georgia
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenols / urine*
  • Solid Phase Extraction
  • Time Factors


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Biomarkers
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Phenols
  • bisphenol A