Urinary concentrations of environmental phenols and their association with type 2 diabetes in a population in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Environ Res. 2018 Oct;166:544-552. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.040. Epub 2018 Jun 27.


A few epidemiologic studies suggest that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) is associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, little is known about association between other phenolic endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and T2DM. In this case-control study, we measured urinary concentrations of 23 phenolic EDCs in 101 individuals from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to examine the association of parabens, antimicrobials, bisphenols, benzophenones and bisphenol A diglycidyl ethers with T2DM. Urine samples were collected from 54 T2DM cases and 47 non-diabetic individuals (controls), aged 28-68 years old, during 2015-2016. Unconditional logistic regression was performed to estimate odd ratios (ORs) for the association between diabetes and EDC exposures after adjusting for confounders including age, gender, nationality, smoking status and occupation. Age from 40 to 59 years (OR 5.56, 95% CI 2.20-14.0) and smoking status (OR 2.92, 95% CI 1.25-6.79) showed significant positive associations with T2DM. After adjusting for potential confounders, we found that T2DM cases had high urinary levels of parabens (i.e., methyl- (MeP), ethyl- (EtP), propyl- (PrP) and 4-hydroxy benzoic acid (4-HB)), bisphenols (i.e., bisphenols A (BPA) and F (BPF)), and benzophenone (i.e., 4-hydroxybenzophenone (4-OH-BP)) relative to the controls. Individuals in the 4th quartile for urinary concentrations of MeP, EtP, PrP, 4-HB and BPF and in the 3rd quartile for BPA and 4-OH-BP showed over a 6-fold increase in the odds of having diabetes compared with those in the first quartile. Overall, our study shows that urinary levels of multiple phenolic EDCs were associated with increased risk for diabetes. Further prospective studies are required to verify these associations.

Keywords: Benzophenone; Biomonitoring; Bisphenol; Diabetes; Paraben.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / urine
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / urine
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenols / urine*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Phenols