A new study published online on November 22, 2014 in the peer-reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology finds phenols and parabens in lactating mothers from North Carolina, U.S.. In the Methods Advancement for Milk Analysis (MAMA) Study, researchers aimed to develop or adapt methods to collect biological matrices (milk, serum, urine) from lactating mothers for analysis of environmental and biological endpoints. A total of 34 lactating women were recruited and donated biological specimens at two time points. In the current study the collected specimens were analyzed for four parabens and five phenols, including the food contact substances bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 8-05-7), triclosan (TCS, CAS 3380-34-5) and benzophenone-3 (BP-3, CAS 131-57-7). Endogenous biomarkers (e.g., hormones, glucose) were also measured. Hines and colleagues hypothesized that there might be significant correlations between chemical exposures and endogenous components that would mirror correlations observed in animal studies, particularly those indicating estrogen agonist activity (i.e., BPA). All target chemicals were detected in most urine samples (53-100%). However, they were less frequently found in milk and serum. The concentrations were found to vary with a matrix. Urinary concentrations of parabens, TCS and dichlorophenols correlated significantly at the two collection time points. The opposite was found for BPA and BP-3. This finding thus points to variability in exposure to these chemicals. Further correlations were found between the phenol and paraben concentrations and endogenous immune-related biomarkers. These correlations certainly merit further investigation, according to the authors.

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Hines, E.P. et al. (2014). “Concentrations of environmental phenols and parabens in milk, urine and serum of lactating North Carolina women.Reproductive Toxicology (published online November 22, 2014)