Urinary concentrations of environmental phenols in pregnant women in a pilot study of the National Children's Study

Environ Res. 2014 Feb;129:32-8. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2013.12.004. Epub 2014 Jan 11.


Environmental phenols are a group of chemicals with widespread uses in consumer and personal care products, food and beverage processing, and in pesticides. We assessed exposure to benzophenone-3, bisphenol A (BPA), triclosan, methyl- and propyl parabens, and 2,4- and 2,5-dichlorophenol or their precursors in 506 pregnant women enrolled in the National Children's Study (NCS) Vanguard Study. We measured the urinary concentrations of the target phenols by using online solid-phase extraction-isotope dilution high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. NCS women results were compared to those of 524 similar-aged women in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009-2010, and to 174 pregnant women in NHANES 2005-2010. In the NCS women, we found significant racial/ethnic differences (p<0.05) in regression adjusted mean concentrations of benzophenone-3, triclosan, 2,4- and 2,5-dichlorophenol, but not of BPA. Urinary 2,4- and 2,5-dichlorophenol concentrations were highly correlated (r=0.66, p<0.0001). Except for BPA and triclosan, adjusted mean concentrations were significantly different across the 7 study sites. Education was marginally significant for benzophenone-3, triclosan, propyl paraben, and 2,5-dichlorophenol. Urinary concentrations of target phenols in NCS pregnant women and U.S. women and pregnant women were similar. In NCS pregnant women, race/ethnicity and geographic location determined urinary concentrations of most phenols (except BPA), suggesting differential exposures. NCS Main Study protocols should collect urine biospecimens and information about exposures to environmental phenols.

Keywords: Biomonitoring; Environmental phenols; National children's study; National health and nutrition examination survey; Pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Development / drug effects*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Environmental Pollutants / urine*
  • Female
  • Financing, Government
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenols / urine*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced*
  • Solid Phase Extraction
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Phenols