Concentrations of environmental phenols and parabens in milk, urine and serum of lactating North Carolina women

Reprod Toxicol. 2015 Jul;54:120-8. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2014.11.006. Epub 2014 Nov 22.


Phenols and parabens show some evidence for endocrine disruption in laboratory animals. The goal of the Methods Advancement for Milk Analysis (MAMA) Study was to develop or adapt methods to measure parabens (methyl, ethyl, butyl, propyl) and phenols (bisphenol A (BPA), 2,4- and 2,5-dichlorophenol, benzophenone-3, triclosan) in urine, milk and serum twice during lactation, to compare concentrations across matrices and with endogenous biomarkers among 34 North Carolina women. These non-persistent chemicals were detected in most urine samples (53-100%) and less frequently in milk or serum; concentrations differed by matrix. Although urinary parabens, triclosan and dichlorophenols concentrations correlated significantly at two time points, those of BPA and benzophenone-3 did not, suggesting considerable variability in those exposures. These pilot data suggest that nursing mothers are exposed to phenols and parabens; urine is the best measurement matrix; and correlations between chemical and endogenous immune-related biomarkers merit further investigation.

Keywords: BPA; Biomonitoring; Breast milk; Lactation; MAMA Study; Parabens phenols; Serum; Urine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Body Burden
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood
  • Environmental Pollutants / metabolism*
  • Environmental Pollutants / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactation / blood
  • Lactation / metabolism*
  • Lactation / urine
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects
  • Milk, Human / metabolism*
  • North Carolina
  • Parabens / adverse effects
  • Parabens / metabolism*
  • Phenols / adverse effects
  • Phenols / blood
  • Phenols / metabolism*
  • Phenols / urine
  • Pilot Projects
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Parabens
  • Phenols