Urinary metabolites of the UV filter octocrylene in humans as biomarkers of exposure

  • Daniel BuryEmail author
  • Hendrik Modick-Biermann
  • Edgar Leibold
  • Thomas Brüning
  • Holger M. Koch
Toxicokinetics and Metabolism


Octocrylene (OC) is a UV filter used in sun screens and other personal care products, but also in polymers and food contact materials for stabilization. In this study, we investigate human OC metabolism and urinary excretion after oral dosage of approx. 5 mg OC [≙ 61.8–89.5 µg/(kg body weight)] in three male volunteers. In a screening approach, we tentatively identified six urinary OC metabolites. For three, renal elimination kinetics was quantitatively investigated using authentic standards: the sidechain oxidation product 2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl 2-cyano-3,3-diphenyl acrylate (5OH–OC), the beta-oxidation product 2-(carboxymethyl)butyl 2-cyano-3,3-diphenyl acrylate (dinor OC carboxylic acid; DOCCA), and the ester hydrolysis product 2-cyano-3,3-diphenylacrylic acid (CPAA). CPAA was the major urinary metabolite, representing 45% (range 40–50%) of the OC dose. 5OH–OC and DOCCA were only minor metabolites with low, but highly consistent renal conversion factors of 0.008% (0.005–0.011%) and 0.13% (0.11–0.16%), respectively. Peak urinary metabolite concentrations were observed between 3.2 h and 4.2 h postdose. All three metabolites were excreted with biphasic elimination kinetics, with considerably longer elimination half-lives for DOCCA (1st phase: 3.0 h; 2nd phase: 16 h) and CPAA (5.7 h and 16 h) compared to 5OH–OC (1.3 h and 6.4 h). 99% of all 5OH–OC was excreted within 24 h compared to 82% of DOCCA and 77% of CPAA. After dermal exposure, we detected the same metabolites with similar ratios in urine, however, at much lower concentrations and with considerably delayed elimination.


Octocrylene OC UV filter Metabolism Oral dosage Human biomonitoring 



The presented study and development of the analytical method applied herein are part of a large-scale 10-year project on the advancement of human biomonitoring in Germany. This project is a cooperation agreed in 2010 between the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI-Verband der Chemischen Industrie e.V.) and is managed by the German Environment Agency (UBA). Experts from governmental scientific authorities, industry and science provide advice in the selection of substances to be investigated and during method development. Analytical method development and the human metabolism study were financed by the Chemie Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft mbH, while the first application of the novel methodology in a larger population study will be financed by the German Environment Agency.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The participation of Edgar Leibold as co-author was conducted as part of his employment responsibilities with BASF SE, a manufacturer of octocrylene. The interpretation and views expressed in this manuscript are not necessarily those of the co-author's employer.

Ethical approval

The study was carried out in accordance with the Code of Ethics of the World Medical Association (1964 Declaration of Helsinki and later amendments) and has been approved by the ethical review board of the medical faculty of the Ruhr-University Bochum (IRB Reg. No.: 4288-12). The study design was presented to the volunteers in written form and written informed consent was obtained from each individual participant.

Supplementary material

204_2019_2408_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (274 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 273 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident InsuranceInstitute of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (IPA)BochumGermany
  2. 2.BASF SE, Product SafetyLudwigshafenGermany
  3. 3.QA ConsultingDortmundGermany

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