Prolonged Exposure to Bisphenol A from Single Dermal Contact Events

Environ Sci Technol. 2017 Sep 5;51(17):9940-9949. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b03093. Epub 2017 Aug 16.


Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine disruptor frequently detected in human biofluids. Dermal absorption of BPA from thermal paper receipts occurs but BPA pharmacokinetics following dermal exposure is not understood. To compare the pharmacokinetics of dermal and dietary BPA exposure, six male participants handled simulated receipts containing relevant levels of BPA (isotope-labeled BPA-d16) for 5 min, followed by hand-washing 2 h later. Urine (0-48 h) and serum (0-7.5 h) were monitored for free and total BPA-d16. One week later, participants returned for a dietary administration with monitoring as above. One participant repeated the dermal administration with extended monitoring of urine (9 days) and serum (2 days). After dietary exposure, urine total BPA-d16 peaked within 5 h and quickly cleared within 24 h. After dermal exposure, cumulative excretion increased linearly for 2 days, and half the participants still had detectable urinary total BPA-d16 after 1 week. The participant repeating the dermal exposure had detectable BPA-d16 in urine for 9 days, showed linear cumulative excretion over 5 days, and had detectable free BPA-d16 in serum. Proportions of free BPA-d16 in urine following dermal exposure (0.71%-8.3% of total BPA-d16) were generally higher than following the dietary exposure (0.29%-1.4%). Compared to dietary BPA exposure, dermal absorption of BPA leads to prolonged exposure and may lead to higher proportions of unconjugated BPA in systemic circulation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / pharmacokinetics*
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / urine
  • Diet
  • Endocrine Disruptors / pharmacokinetics*
  • Endocrine Disruptors / urine
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Paper
  • Phenols / pharmacokinetics*
  • Phenols / urine
  • Skin


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Phenols
  • bisphenol A