4-Nonylphenol (NP) and bisphenol A (BPA) are phenolic substances used in high volumes by the industry. Studies on cells and in experimental animals have shown that both these compounds can be classified as estrogenic hormone disrupters. Information about the exposure of humans to NP and BPA is still scarce, especially regarding levels in human blood. The first aim of this study was to investigate possible sources of NP and BPA exposure from food, by analyzing the levels of NP and BPA from a Swedish food market basket, based on the Swedish per capita food consumption. A second aim was to investigate blood serum levels of NP and BPA, as well as NP-ethoxylates, among young women in Sweden (n=100). Moreover, associations between food consumption and blood NP and BPA levels were studied. In food, NP was to some extent found at levels above limit of quantification (LOQ 20 ng/g fresh weight) in fruits, cereal products, vegetables, and potatoes. BPA levels above LOQ (2 ng/g fresh weight) were found in fish, meats, potatoes, and dairy products. The estimated mean intakes per capita were (medium bound) 27 µg NP/day and 3.9 µg BPA/day, showing that food is a source of BPA and NP in the general Swedish population. In blood serum, free NP above limit of detection (LOD 0.5 ng/g) was detected in 46% of the study participants while detectable levels of total NP (LOD 0.8 ng/g) were observed in 43%. The corresponding percentages for BPA were 25% and 22%, respectively. The results indicate that there is a continuous source of exposure to NP and BPA that is high enough for free NP and BPA to be detected in some consumers. Among the participants with quantifiable levels of free and total NP (n=38), 85% (median, range: 38-112%) of the NP was present as free NP. For BPA 76% (49-109%) was detected as free BPA (n=15). All women had levels of ethoxylates of NP below LOD (0.1-0.7 ng/g). A significantly higher total consumption of fruits and vegetables was reported in questionnaires by participants with NP levels at or above LOD than among women with levels below LOD. This result is supporting the market basket results of relatively high NP levels in these types of food.
Phthalates and phenolic substances were investigated in urine samples from first-time mothers in Uppsala, Sweden, collected between 2009 and 2014. These substances have a comparably fast metabolism and urinary metabolites are predominantly analysed. The main aim was to investigate if measures to decrease production and use of certain phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) have resulted in decreased human exposure, and to determine if exposures to replacement chemicals have increased. Temporal trends were evaluated for metabolites (n=13) of seven phthalates, a phthalate replacer, four different bisphenols, triclosan, one organophosphate-based flame retardant, and for two pesticides. The results showed downward trends of several phthalates which are in the process of being regulated and phased out. Concomitantly, an increasing trend was seen for a metabolite of the phthalate replacer Di-iso-nonylcyclohexane 1,2-dicarboxylate (DiNCH). Bisphenol A (BPA) showed a downward trend, whereas bisphenol F, identified as one of the substitutes for BPA, showed an increasing trend. The decreasing trend of triclosan is likely due to declining use within the EU. Temporal trend studies of urine samples make it possible to investigate human exposure to rapidly metabolised substances and study how measures taken to regulate and replace problematic chemicals affect human exposure.
In 2012 a contamination of drinking water with perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) was uncovered in the City of Uppsala, Sweden. The aim of the present study was to determine how these substances have been distributed from the contamination source through the groundwater to the drinking water and how the drinking water exposure has influenced the levels of PFAAs in humans over time. The results show that PFAA levels in groundwater measured 2012-2014 decreased downstream from the point source, although high SPFAA levels (>100ng/L) were still found several kilometers from the point source in the Uppsala aquifer. The usage of aqueous film forming fire-fighting foams (AFFF) at a military airport in the north of the city is probably an important contamination source. Computer simulation of the distribution of PFAA-contaminated drinking water throughout the City using a hydraulic model of the pipeline network suggested that consumers in the western and southern parts of Uppsala have received most of the contaminated drinking water. PFAA levels in blood serum from 297 young women from Uppsala County, Sweden, sampled during 1996-1999 and 2008-2011 were analyzed. Significantly higher concentrations of perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) were found among women who lived in districts modeled to have received contaminated drinking water compared to unaffected districts both in 1996-1999 and 2008-2011, indicating that the contamination was already present in the late 1990s. Isomer-specific analysis of PFHxS in serum showed that women in districts with contaminated drinking water also had an increased percentage of branched isomers. Our results further indicate that exposure via contaminated drinking water was the driving factor behind the earlier reported increasing temporal trends of PFBS and PFHxS in blood serum from young women in Uppsala.
In this study serum levels of bisphenol A (BPA) were investigated in primiparous women from Uppsala County, Sweden, sampled 3weeks after delivery 1996-2011, in both yearly pools of serum (n=39, temporal trend study) and in 208 individual samples also present in the pools. Possible contamination risks of BPA from blood sampling equipment and sample tubes, as well as from handling of the samples were evaluated. The unconjugated form of BPA was analyzed using a UPLC-MS/MS method with a limit of quantification (LOQ) of 0.2ng/ml. The results show that the levels of unconjugated BPA generally were