Predictors and Variability of Urinary Paraben Concentrations in Men and Women, Including before and during Pregnancy
Kristen W. Smith,1 Joe M. Braun,1 Paige L. Williams,2 Shelley Ehrlich,1 Katharine F. Correia,3 Antonia M. Calafat,4 Xiaoyun Ye,4 Jennifer Ford,1 Myra Keller,1 John D. Meeker,5 and Russ Hauser1,6
1Department of Environmental Health, and 2Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; 3Division of Reproductive Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; 4National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; 5Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; 6Vincent Memorial Obstetrics and Gynecology Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Background: Parabens are suspected endocrine disruptors and ubiquitous preservatives used in personal care products, pharmaceuticals, and foods. No studies have assessed the variability of parabens in women, including during pregnancy.
Objective: We evaluated predictors and variability of urinary paraben concentrations.
Methods: We measured urinary concentrations of methyl (MP), propyl (PP), and butyl paraben (BP) among couples from a fertility center. Mixed-effects regression models were fit to examine demographic predictors of paraben concentrations and to calculate intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs).
Results: Between 2005 and 2010, we collected 2,721 spot urine samples from 245 men and 408 women. The median concentrations were 112 µg/L (MP), 24.2 µg/L (PP), and 0.70 µg/L (BP). Urinary MP and PP concentrations were 4.6 and 7.8 times higher in women than men, respectively, and concentrations of both MP and PP were 3.8 times higher in African Americans than Caucasians. MP and PP concentrations were slightly more variable in women (ICC = 0.42, 0.43) than men (ICC = 0.54, 0.51), and were weakly correlated between partners (r = 0.27–0.32). Among 129 pregnant women, urinary paraben concentrations were 25–45% lower during pregnancy than before pregnancy, and MP and PP concentrations were more variable (ICCs of 0.38 and 0.36 compared with 0.46 and 0.44, respectively).
Conclusions: Urinary paraben concentrations were more variable in women compared with men, and during pregnancy compared with before pregnancy. However, results for this study population suggest that a single urine sample may reasonably represent an individual’s exposure over several months, and that a single sample collected during pregnancy may reasonably classify gestational exposure.
Key words: biomarker, exposure science, female, male, parabens, partners, predictors, pregnancy, variability.
Environ Health Perspect 120:1538–1543 (2012). http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104614 [Online 21 June 2012]
Address correspondence to R. Hauser, 665 Huntington Ave., Building I, 14th Floor, Boston, MA 02115 USA. Telephone: (617) 432-3326. Fax: (617) 432-0219. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Supplemental Material is available online (http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104614).
The authors gratefully acknowledge X. Zhou, R. Hennings, A. Bishop, T. Jia (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA) for measuring the urinary concentrations of the parabens.
The work was supported by grants ES009718, ES000002, and T32ES007069 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health.
The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The authors declare they have no actual or potential competing financial interests.
Received 12 October 2011; Accepted 21 June 2012; Online 21 June 2012.
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