Study Title:

Phthalates, bisphenols, parabens, and triclocarban in feminine hygiene products from the United States and their implications for human exposure.

Study Abstract

Feminine hygiene products, a category of daily necessities, can be a source of exposure to plasticizers and antimicrobial agents in women. Nevertheless, studies on the occurrence of chemicals in feminine hygiene products have received little attention. In this study, 24 endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), comprising nine phthalates, six parabens, eight bisphenols, and triclocarban (TCC) were measured in seven categories of feminine hygiene products (i.e., pads, panty liners, tampons, wipes, bactericidal creams and solutions, and deodorant sprays and powders; N = 77) collected in the Albany area of New York State in the United States. Dimethyl phthalate (DMP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), di-iso-butyl phthalate (DIBP), di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), methyl paraben (MeP), and ethyl paraben (EtP) were found in all pad, panty liner, and tampon samples. Panty liners contained the highest concentrations of DMP (median: 249 ng/g), DEP (386 ng/g), DBP (393 ng/g), and DIBP (299 ng/g) and tampons contained the highest concentrations of DEHP (267 ng/g). MeP, EtP, and propyl paraben (PrP) were the major parabens found in feminine hygiene products. Bactericidal creams and solutions contained median concentrations of MeP, EtP and PrP at 2840, 734, and 278 ng/g, respectively. The estimated exposure doses of phthalates, parabens, and bisphenols through the dermal absorption pathway from the use of pads, panty liners, and tampons were significant. In comparison with the exposure doses reported previously from other sources and pathways, the significance of feminine hygiene products as sources of EDC exposure was delineated. The dermal absorption doses from the use of feminine hygiene products, under different exposure scenarios, were 0.19-27.9% and 0.01-6.2% of the total exposure doses of phthalates and bisphenols, respectively. This is the first study to report the occurrence of phthalates, parabens, bisphenols, and TCC in feminine hygiene products from the United States.

Study Information

Environ Int. 2020 Mar;136:105465. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2020.105465. Epub 2020 Jan 13. PMID: 31945693.

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