For the first time in Europe, both European-wide and country-specific levels of urinary Bisphenol A (BPA) were obtained through a harmonized protocol for participant recruitment, sampling and quality controlled biomarker analysis in the frame of the twin projects COPHES and DEMOCOPHES. 674 child-mother pairs were recruited through schools or population registers from six European member states (Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden). Children (5-12 y) and mothers donated a urine sample. Information on socio-demographic characteristics, life style, dietary habits, and educational level of the parents was provided by mothers. After exclusion of urine samples with creatinine values below 300 mg/L or above 3000 mg/L, 653 children and 639 mothers remained for which BPA was measured. The geometric mean (with 95% confidence intervals) and 90th percentile were calculated for BPA separately in children and in mothers and were named "European reference values". After adjustment for confounders (age and creatinine), average exposure values in each country were compared with the mean of the "European reference values" by means of a weighted analysis of variance. Overall geometric means of all countries (95% CI) adjusted for urinary creatinine, age and gender were 2.04 (1.87-2.24) µg/L and 1.88 (1.71-2.07) µg/L for children (n=653) and mothers (n=639), respectively. Multiple regression analysis was used to identify significant environmental, geographical, personal or life style related determinants. Consumption of canned food and social class (represented by the highest educational level of the family) were the most important predictors for the urinary levels of BPA in mothers and children. The individual BPA levels in children were significantly correlated with the levels in their mothers (r=0.265, p<0.001), which may suggest a possible common environmental/dietary factor that influences the biomarker level in each pair. Exposure of the general European population was well below the current health-based guidance values and no participant had BPA values higher than the health-based guidance values.
Keywords: Bisphenol-A; Europe; Human biomonitoring; Human exposure; Mother–children pairs.
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