Urinary paraben concentrations among pregnant women and their matching newborn infants of Korea, and the association with oxidative stress biomarkers

Sungeun Kang, Sunmi Kim, Jeongim Park, Hae Joong Kim, Jeongjae Lee, Gyuyeon Choi, Sooran Choi, Sungjoo Kim, Su Young Kim, Hyo Bang Moon, Sungkyoon Kim, Young Lim Kho, Kyungho Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)


Parabens have been used in multiple products including personal care products, pharmaceuticals, and foods for more than 50. years but increasing numbers of studies have raised concerns on their safety. The present study was designed to determine urinary paraben levels among pregnant women and their matching newborn infants (< 48. h after delivery), and the association between paraben levels and stress markers. Pregnant women (n = 46) and their matching newborn infants were recruited from four university hospitals located in Seoul, Ansan and Jeju of Korea, 2011. Parabens including methyl paraben (MP), ethyl paraben (EP), n-propyl paraben (PP), and n-butyl paraben (BP) were measured in the urine using an automatic, high throughput online SPE-LC-MS/MS method. Urinary concentrations were normalized with specific gravity (SG). Free cortisol, malondealdehyde (MDA) and 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) were measured in the urine as stress marker. Urinary MP was detected as the highest, and BP was detected as the lowest paraben in the urine samples of both pregnant women and their infants. Significant correlations between paraben concentrations of maternal and their newborn infant's urine were observed. The levels of urinary parabens among Korean pregnant women are comparable to those reported elsewhere, except for EP which were 4-9 folds higher than pregnant women of other countries. The ratios of infant to maternal urinary paraben concentrations varied between 0.5 and 0.6 for MP and PP, but approximately 10 fold lower for EP. Urinary MP or EP levels were associated with several oxidative stress related biomarkers such as urinary 8-OHdG and MDA, even after the adjustment of relevant covariates such as maternal age, mode of delivery, pre-pregnancy BMI, gestational age and parity. This is the first study that reported the levels of major parabens in the first urine of newborn infants. Further studies are warranted to understand the implications of paraben exposure among biologically susceptible human populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-221
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Sep 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethyl paraben
  • Methyl paraben
  • Oxidative stress
  • Placenta
  • Urine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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