Personal care product use as a predictor of urinary concentrations of certain phthalates, parabens, and phenols in the HERMOSA study

J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2019 Jan;29(1):21-32. doi: 10.1038/s41370-017-0003-z. Epub 2018 Jan 9.


Use of personal care products, such as makeup, soaps, and sunscreen, may expose adolescent girls to potential endocrine disruptors, including phthalates, parabens, and other phenols. We evaluated the relationship between recent self-reported personal care product use and concentrations for urinary metabolites of phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and benzophenone-3 (BP-3) in 100 Latina adolescents. Girls who reported using makeup every day vs. rarely/never had higher urinary concentrations of monoethyl phthalate (MEP) (102.2 ng/mL vs. 52.4 ng/mL, P-value: 0.04), methyl paraben (MP) (120.5 ng/mL vs. 13.4 ng/mL, P-value < 0.01), and propyl paraben (PP) (60.4 ng/mL vs. 2.9 ng/mL, P-value < 0.01). Girls who reported recent use of specific makeup products, including foundation, blush, and mascara, had higher urinary concentrations of MEP, mono-n-butyl phthalate (MBP), MP, and PP. Use of Colgate Total toothpaste was associated with 86.7% higher urinary triclosan concentrations. Use of sunscreen was associated with 57.8% higher urinary concentrations of BP-3. Our findings suggest that personal care product use is associated with higher exposure to certain phthalates, parabens, and other phenols in urine. This may be especially relevant in adolescent girls who have high use of personal care products during a period of important reproductive development.

Keywords: Benzophenone-3; Parabens; Personal care products; Phthalates; Product use; Triclosan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / urine
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects*
  • Endocrine Disruptors / adverse effects
  • Endocrine Disruptors / urine*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Parabens / adverse effects
  • Parabens / analysis*
  • Phenols / urine*
  • Phthalic Acids / urine*
  • Self Report
  • Triclosan / urine


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Biomarkers
  • Cosmetics
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Parabens
  • Phenols
  • Phthalic Acids
  • Triclosan
  • phthalic acid