In an article published on December 13, 2016 the non-profit organization Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) informs about the results of a French human biomonitoring study on exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The study was conducted by the French public health agency (Santé publique) and surveyed over 4,000 pregnant women who gave birth in continental France in 2011. Biological samples (urine, blood serum, cord blood, hair) of the mothers were collected at the time of delivery and tested for bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7), phthalates, pesticides, dioxins, furans, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), flame retardants, and perfluorinated compounds. The urine of 1,764 women was tested for BPA and more than 70% of samples contained quantifiable amounts of the substance. Phthalates were analyzed in the urine of 989 women and 99.6% of samples contained quantifiable levels of at least one phthalate metabolite. For 1,077 women, urine samples were tested for certain herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides. Nearly 100% of samples contained quantifiable levels of pyrethroids (insecticides). The blood serum of 208 women (not representative) was tested for dioxins, furans, and PCBs; all samples contained quantifiable levels of at least one of these substances. Flame retardants were measured in the blood serum of 277 women (not representative) and almost all women were exposed to quantifiable levels of at least one flame retardant. Perfluorinated compounds were also measured in the blood serum of 277 women; in all women at least one compound was present at a quantifiable level.

The study cited food consumption as a principle source of exposure, HEAL reports. Indoor and outdoor air present other routes of high exposure. Compared to previous studies, the measured levels in the current study were slightly lower. Decreased exposure could be explained by the introduction of regulations (e.g. for pesticides, dioxins, furans) and industrial developments (e.g. reduced use/abandonment of BPA, certain phthalates, and organophosphate pesticides), HEAL explains. A second part of the study will focus on exposure to metals and metalloids. In a third part, general conclusions of the biomonitoring study and the outlook on further work will be discussed.

Read more

HEAL (December 13, 2016). “EDCs found in almost all urine samples of pregnant women tested in France.

Santé publique (December 7, 2016). “Exposition des femmes enceintes françaises aux polluants de l’environnement : Santé publique France publie les premiers résultats de l’étude – Tome 1 : les polluants organiques.(in French)


Santé publique (December 7, 2016). “Imprégnation des femmes enceintes par les polluants de l’environnement en France en 2011.” (in French)