Bisphenols and Oxidative Stress Biomarkers-Associations Found in Human Studies, Evaluation of Methods Used, and Strengths and Weaknesses of the Biomarkers

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 May 21;17(10):3609. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17103609.


Bisphenols, particularly bisphenol A (4,4'-(hexafluoroisopropylidene)-diphenol) (BPA), are suspected of inducing oxidative stress in humans, which may be associated with adverse health outcomes. We investigated the associations between exposure to bisphenols and biomarkers of oxidative stress in human studies over the last 12 years (2008‒2019) related to six health endpoints and evaluated their suitability as effect biomarkers. PubMed database searches identified 27 relevant articles that were used for data extraction. In all studies, BPA exposure was reported, whereas some studies also reported other bisphenols. More than a dozen different biomarkers were measured. The most frequently measured biomarkers were 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α (8-isoprostane) and malondialdehyde (MDA), which almost always were positively associated with BPA. Methodological issues were reported for MDA, mainly the need to handle samples with caution to avoid artefact formation and its measurements using a chromatographic step to distinguish it from similar aldehydes, making some of the MDA results less reliable. Urinary 8-OHdG and 8-isoprostane can be considered the most reliable biomarkers of oxidative stress associated with BPA exposure. Although none of the biomarkers are considered BPA- or organ-specific, the biomarkers can be assessed repeatedly and non-invasively in urine and could help to understand causal relationships.

Keywords: 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal-mercapturic acid (HNE-MA); HBM4EU; adverse outcome pathway (AOP); analytical methods; antioxidant; bisphenol F (BPF); bisphenol S (BPS); effect biomarker; reactive nitrogen species (RNS); reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine / urine
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Benzhydryl Compounds* / toxicity
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dinoprost / analogs & derivatives
  • Dinoprost / urine
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Phenols* / toxicity
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Young Adult


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Biomarkers
  • Phenols
  • 8-epi-prostaglandin F2alpha
  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Dinoprost
  • bisphenol A