Maternal and infant exposure to environmental phenols as measured in multiple biological matrices

Sci Total Environ. 2015 Mar 1;508:575-84. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.10.107. Epub 2014 Dec 4.


Background: Results of recent national surveys have shown the high prevalence of exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and triclosan (TCS) among the general population; however biomonitoring data for pregnant women and infants are limited.

Methods: Women (n=80) were recruited from early prenatal clinics and asked to collect urine samples multiple times during pregnancy and once 2-3 months post-partum. Samples of infant urine and meconium as well as breast milk and infant formula were also collected. Biospecimens were analyzed by GC-MS/MS for BPA, TCS and triclocarban (TCC).

Results: Triclosan was detected in over 80% of the maternal urines (geometric mean (GM): 21.61 μg/L), 60% of the infant urines (GM: 2.8 μg/L), 46% of the breast milk and 80% of the meconium samples. Triclocarban was rarely detected in any of the biospecimens. Median total BPA concentrations were 1.21 and 0.24 μg/L in maternal and infant urines, respectively. Free BPA was detected in only 11% of infant urine samples. The meconium of female infants had significantly higher concentrations of total BPA and TCS than those of males, while no differences were observed in infant urine concentrations by sex.

Conclusions: We found widespread exposure among pregnant women and infants to environmental phenols, with large inter-individual variability in exposure to triclosan. These data will contribute to the risk assessment of these chemicals, especially in susceptible sub-populations.

Keywords: Bisphenol A; Infant; Meconium; Pregnancy; Triclosan; Urine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula / chemistry
  • Male
  • Milk, Human / metabolism*
  • Phenols / analysis*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Phenols