Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 21, Issue 15, pp 9344–9355 | Cite as

Bisphenol A exposure is not associated with area-level socioeconomic index in Australian children using pooled urine samples

  • AL Heffernan
  • PD Sly
  • LML Toms
  • P Hobson
  • JF Mueller
Research Article


Bisphenol A (BPA) is used extensively in food-contact materials and has been detected routinely in populations worldwide; this exposure has been linked to a range of negative health outcomes in humans. There is some evidence of an association between BPA and different socioeconomic variables which may be the result of different dietary patterns. The aim of this study was to conduct a preliminary investigation of the association between BPA and socioeconomic status in Australian children using pooled urine specimens and an area-level socioeconomic index. Surplus pathology urine specimens collected from children aged 0–15 years in Queensland, Australia, as samples of convenience (n = 469), were pooled by age, sex and area-level socioeconomic index (n = 67 pools) and analysed for total BPA using online solid-phase extraction LC-MS/MS. Concentration ranged from 1.08 to 27.4 ng/ml with geometric mean 2.57 ng/ml, and geometric mean exposure was estimated as 70.3 ng/kg d-1. Neither BPA concentration nor excretion was associated with age or sex, and the authors found no evidence of an association with socioeconomic status. These results suggest that BPA exposure is not associated with socioeconomic status in the Australian population due to relatively homogenous exposures in Australia, or that the socioeconomic gradient is relatively slight in Australia compared with other OECD countries.


Human biomonitoring Urine Bisphenol A BPA Socioeconomic status Socioeconomic position Children 

Supplementary material

11356_2014_2882_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 20 kb)
11356_2014_2882_MOESM2_ESM.docx (73 kb)
ESM 2(DOCX 72 kb)
11356_2014_2882_MOESM3_ESM.docx (24 kb)
ESM 3(DOCX 24 kb)
11356_2014_2882_MOESM4_ESM.docx (22 kb)
ESM 4(DOCX 22 kb)


  1. Adhikari P (2006) Socioeconomic indexes for areas: introduction, use and future directions. Cat.No. 1351.0.55.015. Australian Bureau of Statistics. www.abs.gov.au
  2. Ambrosini GL, Oddy WH, Robinson M, O'Sullivan TA, Hands BP, de Klerk NH et al (2009) Adolescent dietary patterns are associated with lifestyle and family psycho-social factors. Public Health Nutr 12:1807–1815. doi:10.1017/s1368980008004618 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (2011) Measures of socioeconomic status. Report number 1244.0.55.001. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra. www.abs.gov.au. Accessed 11 June 2013
  4. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) (2010) Study of levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in infant formula and water from infant feeding bottles and sip cups supplied in Australia. http://www.productsafety.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/982022/fromItemId/971446. Accessed 20 June 2013
  5. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) (2012) Bisphenol A in consumer products. http://www.productsafety.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/971446. Accessed 25 June 2013
  6. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIWH) (2012a) Australia’s food and nutrition 2012. Cat. no. PHE 163. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  7. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIWH) (2012b) Australia's health 2012. Report no. 13. Cat. no. AUS 156. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  8. Baker J, Adhikari P (2007) Socio-economic indexes for individuals and families. Catalogue number 1352.0.55.086. Methodology Advisory Committee. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Available from www.abs.gov.au
  9. Ball K, Crawford D, Mishra G (2006) Socio-economic inequalities in women's fruit and vegetable intakes: a multilevel study of individual, social and environmental mediators. Public Health Nutr 9:623–630. doi:10.1079/PHN2005897 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Becker K, Goeen T, Seiwert M, Conrad A, Pick-Fuss H, Mueller J et al (2009) GerES IV: phthalate metabolites and bisphenol A in urine of German children. Int J Hyg Environ Health 212:685–692. doi:10.1016/j.ijheh.2009.08.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bradley RH, Corwyn RF (2002) Socioeconomic status and child development. Ann Rev Psychol 53:371–399. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.53.100901.135233 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Braun JM, Kalkbrenner AE, Calafat AM, Bernert JT, Ye X, Silva MJ et al (2011a) Variability and predictors of urinary bisphenol A concentrations during pregnancy. Environ Health Perspect 119:131–137. doi:10.1289/ehp.1002366 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Braun JM, Kalkbrenner AE, Calafat AM, Yolton K, Ye X, Dietrich KN et al (2011b) Impact of early-life bisphenol A exposure on behavior and executive function in children. Pediatrics 128:873–882. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-1335 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Braveman P, Cubbin C, Egerter S, Chideya S, Marchi K, Metzler M et al (2005) Socioeconomic status in health research: one size does not fit all. JAMA J Am Med Assoc 294:2879–2888. doi:10.1001/jama.294.22.2879 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bushnik T, Haines D, Levallois P, Levesque J, Van Oostdam J, Viau C (2010) Lead and bisphenol A in the Canadian population, catalogue no. 82-003-XPE. Health Rep 21:1–13Google Scholar
  16. Calafat AM, Sampson EJ (2009) Laboratory procedure manual: bisphenol A and other environmental phenols and parabens in urine. Method number 6301.01. www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhanes. Accessed 10 Dec 2012
  17. Calafat AM, Ye X, Wong L, Reidy JA, Needham LL (2008) Exposure of the U.S. population to bisphenol A and 4-tertiary-octylphenol: 2003-2004. Environ Health Perspect 116:39–44. doi:10.1289/ehp.10753 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Callan AC, Hinwood AL, Heffernan A, Eaglesham G, Mueller J, Odland JO (2012) Urinary bisphenol A concentrations in pregnant women. Int J of Hyg Environ Health 216:641–644. doi:10.1016/j.iheh.2012.10.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Carwile JL, Luu HT, Bassett LS, Driscoll DA, Yuan C, Chang JY et al (2009) Polycarbonate bottle use and urinary bisphenol A concentrations. Environ Health Perspect 117:1368–1372. doi:10.1289/ehp.0900604 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Carwile JL, Ye X, Zhou X, Calafat AM, Michels KB (2011) Canned soup consumption and urinary bisphenol a: a randomized crossover trial. JAMA J Am Med Assoc 306:2218–2220. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1721 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Casas L, Fernandez MF, Llop S, Guxens M, Ballester F, Olea N et al (2011) Urinary concentrations of phthalates and phenols in a population of Spanish pregnant women and children. Environ Int 37: 858–866Google Scholar
  22. Casas M, Valvi D, Luque N, Ballesteros-Gomez A, Carsin AE, Fernandez MF et al (2013) Dietary and sociodemographic determinants of bisphenol A urine concentrations in pregnant women and children. Environ Int 56:10–18. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2013.02.014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Caudill SP (2010) Characterizing populations of individuals using pooled samples. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 20:29–37. doi:10.1038/jes.2008.72 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Consumer Reports (2009) Concern over canned food. Consumer Reports Magazine. Consumers Union U.S. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/december-2009/food/bpa/overview/bisphenol-a-ov.htm. Accessed 20 June 2013
  25. Daly MC, Duncan GJ, McDonough P, Williams DR (2002) Optimal indicators of socioeconomic status for health research. Am J Public Health 92:1151–1157. doi:10.2105/AJPH.92.7.1151 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Darmon N, Drewnowski A (2008) Does social class predict diet quality? Am J Clin Nutr 87:1107–1117Google Scholar
  27. Dekant W, Volkel W (2008) Human exposure to bisphenol A by biomonitoring: methods, results and assessment of environmental exposures. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 228:114–134. doi:10.1016/j.taap.2007.12.008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Environmental Working Group (2007) Bisphenol A—toxic plastics chemical in canned food. Canned food test results. Environmental Working Group Reports and Consumer Guides. http://www.ewg.org/research/bisphenol/canned-food-test-results. Accessed 25 June 2013
  29. European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) (2006) Opinion of the scientific panel on food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact with food. On request from the commission related to 2,2-bis(hydroxyphenol)propane (bisphenol A). Question number EFSA-Q-2005-100. Adopted on 29 November 2006. EFSA J 428:1–75Google Scholar
  30. European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) (2010) Press release: EFSA updates advice on bisphenol A. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/cef100930.htm. Accessed 25 June 2013
  31. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) (2010a) Government announces BPA baby bottle phase out. Media release 30 June 2010. http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/media/pages/mediareleases/mediareleases2010/governmentannouncesb4822.aspx. Accessed 20 June 2013
  32. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) (2010b) Report: FSANZ activities in relation to bisphenol A. Food Survellience. http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/monitoring/surveillance/Pages/fsanzsurveyandactivi4978.aspx. Accessed 20 June 2013
  33. Galobardes B, Morabia A, Bernstein MS (2001) Diet and socioeconomic position: does the use of different indicators matter? Int J Epidemiol 30:334–340. doi:10.1093/ije/30.2.334 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Giskes K, Turrell G, Patterson C, Newman B (2002) Socio-economic differences in fruit and vegetable consumption among Australian adolescents and adults. Public Health Nutr 5:663–669. doi:10.1079/phn2002339 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Goodson A, Summerfield W, Cooper I (2002) Survey of bisphenol A and bisphenol F in canned foods. Food Addit Contam 19:796–802. doi:10.1080/02652030210146837 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. He Y, Miao M, Herrinton LJ, Wu C, Yuan W, Zhou Z et al (2009) Bisphenol A levels in blood and urine in a Chinese population and the personal factors affecting the levels. Environ Res 109:629–633. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2009.04.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Heffernan A, Aylward L, Toms LML, Eaglesham G, Hobson P, Sly P et al (2013a) Age-related trends in urinary excretion of bisphenol A in Australian children: evidence from a pooled sample study. J Toxic Environ Health A 76:1039–1055. doi:10.1080/15287394.2013.834856 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Heffernan A, Aylward L, Toms LML, Sly P, MacLeod M, Mueller JF (2013b) Pooled biological specimens for human biomonitoring of environmental chemicals: opportunities and limitations. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. doi:10.1038/jes.2013.76
  39. Hoekstra EJ, Simoneau C (2013) Release of bisphenol A from polycarbonate—a review. Crit Rev Food Sci 53:386–402. doi:10.1080/10408398.2010.536919 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hoepner LA, Whyatt RM, Just AC, Calafat AM, Perera FP, Rundle AG (2013) Urinary concentrations of bisphenol A in an urban minority birth cohort in New York City, prenatal through age 7 years. Environ Res 122:38–44. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2012.12.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kamphuis CB, Giskes K, de Bruijn GJ, Wendel-Vos W, Brug J, van Lenthe FJ (2006) Environmental determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption among adults: a systematic review. Br J Nutr 96:620–635. doi:10.1079/BJN20061896 Google Scholar
  42. Kasper-Sonnenberg M, Wittsiepe J, Koch HM, Fromme H, Wilhelm M (2012) Determination of bisphenol A in urine from mother-child pairs-results from the Duisburg birth cohort study, Germany. J Toxicol Environ Health A 75:429–437. doi:10.1080/15287394.2012.674907 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Keating G, O'Sullivan M, Shorrocks A, Davies J, Lluberasis R, Koutsoukis A (2013) Credit Suisse global wealth report. Credit Suisse AG Research Institute, Zurich. https://www.credit-suisse.com/au/en/news-and-expertise/research/credit-suisse-research-institute/publications.html. Accessed 21 Nov 2013
  44. Koch HM, Calafat AM (2009) Review: human body burdens of chemicals used in plastic manufacture. Phil Trans R Soc B 364:2063–2078. doi:10.1098/rstb.2008.0208 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mary-Huard T (2007) Biases induced by pooling samples in microarray experiments. Bioinformatics 23:i313–i318. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btm182 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Matsumoto A, Kunugita N, Kitagawa K, Isse T, Oyama T, Foureman GL et al (2003) Bisphenol A levels in human urine. Environ Health Perspect 111:101–104. doi:10.1289/ehp.5512 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mendonca K, Hauser R, Calafat AM, Arbuckle TE, Duty SM (2014) Bisphenol A concentrations in maternal breast milk and infant urine. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 87(1):13–20. doi:10.1007/s00420-012-0834-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Monsivais P, Drewnowski A (2009) Lower-energy-density diets are associated with higher monetary costs per kilocalorie and are consumed by women of higher socioeconomic status. J Am Diet Assoc 109:814–822. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2009.02.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Morgan MK, Jones PA, Calafat AM, Ye X, Croghan CW, Chuang JC et al (2011) Assessing the quantitative relationships between preschool children’s exposures to bisphenol A by route and urinary biomonitoring. Environ Sci Technol 45:5309–5316. doi:10.1021/es200537u CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nelson JW, Scammell MK, Hatch EE, Webster TF (2012) Social disparities in exposures to bisphenol A and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals: a cross-sectional study within NHANES 2003-2006. Environ Health 11:10. doi:10.1186/1476-069x-11-10 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Noonan GO, Ackerman LK, Begley TH (2011) Concentration of bisphenol A in highly consumed canned foods on the U.S. market. J Agric Food Chem 59:7178–7185. doi:10.1021/jf201076f CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. OECD (2010) Poverty rates and gaps. OECD Factbook 2010: Economic, environmental and social statistics. doi:10.1787/factbook-2010-en
  53. Pink B (2008a) Information paper: an introduction to socio-economic indexes for area (SEIFA). 2006 Cat. No. 2039.0. Australian Bureau of Statistics. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/2039.0Main%20Features32006. Accessed 23 April 2013
  54. Pink B (2008b) Socio-economic indexes for area (SEIFA)—technical paper. 2006 Cat. No. 2039.0.55.001. Australian Bureau of Statistics. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/detailspage/2039.0.55.0012006?opendocument. Accessed 23 April 2013
  55. Pirard C, Sagot C, Deville M, Dubois N, Charlier C (2012) Urinary levels of bisphenol A, triclosan and 4-nonylphenol in a general Belgian population. Environ Int 48:78–83. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2012.07.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rochester JR (2013) Bisphenol A and human health: a review of the literature. Reprod Toxicol 42:132–155. doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2013.08.008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rudel RA, Gray JM, Engel CL, Rawsthorne TW, Dodson RE, Ackerman JM et al (2011) Food packaging and bisphenol A and bis(2-ethyhexyl) phthalate exposure: findings from a dietary intervention. Environ Health Perspect 119:914–920. doi:10.1289/ehp.1003170 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sathyanarayana S, Alcedo G, Saelens BE, Zhou C, Dills RL, Yu J et al (2013) Unexpected results in a randomized dietary trial to reduce phthalate and bisphenol A exposures. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 23:378–384. doi:10.1038/jes.2013.9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Scheuplein R, Charnley G, Doursen M (2002) Differential sensitivity of children and adults to chemical toxicity: I. Biological basis. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 35:429–447. doi:10.1006/rtph.2002.1558 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Shavers VL (2007) Measurement of socioeconomic status in health disparities research. J Natl Med Assoc 99:1013–1023Google Scholar
  61. Stahlhut RW, Welshons WV, Swan SH (2009) Bisphenol A data in NHANES suggest longer than expected half-life, substantial non-food exposure, or both. Environ Health Perspect 117:784–789. doi:10.1289/ehp.0800376 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Thomson BM, Grounds PR (2005) Bisphenol A in canned foods in New Zealand: an exposure assessment. Food Addit Contam 22:65–72. doi:10.1080/02652030400027920 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Vandenberg LN, Hauser R, Marcus M, Olea N, Welshons WV (2007) Human exposure to bisphenol A (BPA). Reprod Toxicol 24:139–177. doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2007.07.010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Vandenberg LN, Chahoud I, Heindel JJ, Padmanabhan V, Paumgartten FJ, Schoenfelder G (2010) Urinary, circulating, and tissue biomonitoring studies indicate widespread exposure to bisphenol A. Environ Health Perspect 118:1055–1070. doi:10.1289/ehp.0901716 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Volkel W, Colnot T, Csanady GA, Filser JG, Dekant W (2002) Metabolism and kinetics of bisphenol A in humans at low doses following oral administration. Chem Res Toxicol 15:1281–1287. doi:10.1021/tx025548t CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Volkel W, Kiranoglu M, Fromme H (2011) Determination of free and total bisphenol A in urine of infants. Environ Res 111(1):143–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Von Goetz N, Wormuth M, Scheringer M, Hungerbühler K (2010) Bisphenol A: how the most relevant exposure sources contribute to total consumer exposure. Risk Anal 30:473–487. doi:10.1111/j.1539-6924.2009.01345.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wilson NK, Chuang JC, Morgan MK, Lordo RA, Sheldon LS (2007) An observational study of the potential exposures of preschool children to pentachlorophenol, bisphenol-A, and nonylphenol at home and daycare. Environ Res 103:9–20. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2006.04.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. World Health Organisation (2004) Children’s health and the environment. A global persepctive. World Health Organisation, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  70. World Health Organisation (2011) Summary of principles for evaluating health risks in children associated with exposure to chemicals. Children’s Environmental Health. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  71. Ye X, Pierik FH, Hauser R, Duty S, Angerer J, Park MM et al (2008) Urinary metabolite concentrations of organophosphorous pesticides, bisphenol A, and phthalates among pregnant women in Rotterdam, the Netherlands: the Generation R study. Environ Res 108:260–267. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2008.07.014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • AL Heffernan
    • 1
  • PD Sly
    • 2
  • LML Toms
    • 3
  • P Hobson
    • 4
  • JF Mueller
    • 1
  1. 1.National Research Centre for Environmental ToxicologyUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Children’s Health and Environment Program, Queensland Children’s Medical Research InstituteUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Clinical Sciences and Institute of Health and Biomedical InnovationQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Sullivan Nicolaides PathologyBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations