Serum Testosterone Concentrations and Urinary Bisphenol A, Benzophenone-3, Triclosan, and Paraben Levels in Male and Female Children and Adolescents: NHANES 2011-2012

Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Dec;124(12):1898-1904. doi: 10.1289/EHP150. Epub 2016 Jul 6.


Background: Exposure to environmental phenols (e.g., bisphenol A, benzophenone-3, and triclosan) and parabens is widespread in the population. Many of these chemicals have been shown to have anti-androgenic effects both in vitro and in vivo.

Objective: We examined the association of bisphenol A (BPA), benzophenone-3 (BP-3), triclosan (TCS), and parabens with serum total testosterone (TT) levels in child and adolescent participants (ages 6-19 years) in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2012.

Methods: We performed multivariable linear regression to estimate associations between natural log-transformed serum TT and quartiles of urinary BPA, BP-3, TCS, and parabens in male and female children (ages 6-11 years) and adolescents (ages 12-19 years).

Results: BP-3 and BPA were associated with significantly lower TT in male adolescents, and BPA was associated with significantly higher TT in female adolescents. TT was not consistently associated with TCS or total parabens in children or adolescents of either sex.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first study to report an association of both BP-3 and BPA with serum TT in adolescents. Associations between BPA and TT differed according to sex in adolescents, with inverse associations in boys and positive associations in girls. BP-3 was associated with significantly lower TT in adolescent boys only. However, because of the limitations inherent to the cross-sectional study design, further studies are needed to confirm and elucidate on our findings. Citation: Scinicariello F, Buser MC. 2016. Serum testosterone concentrations and urinary bisphenol A, benzophenone-3, triclosan, and paraben levels in male and female children and adolescents: NHANES 2011-2012. Environ Health Perspect 124:1898-1904;

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / urine
  • Benzophenones / urine
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Pollutants / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Parabens / analysis
  • Phenols / urine
  • Testosterone / blood*
  • Triclosan / urine
  • Young Adult


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Benzophenones
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Parabens
  • Phenols
  • Testosterone
  • Triclosan
  • oxybenzone
  • bisphenol A