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Environmental Phenols: Benzophenone 3 (BP-3)


Calafat AM, Wong LY, Ye X, Reidy JA, Needham LL. Concentrations of the sunscreen agent benzophenone-3 in residents of the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003–2004. Environ Health Perspect 2008;116(7):893-897.


Background: The capability of benzophenone-3 (BP-3) to absorb and dissipate ultraviolet (UV) radiation facilitates its use as a sunscreen agent. BP-3 has other uses in many consumer products (e.g., as fragrance and flavor enhancer, photoinitiator, UV curing agent, polymerization inhibitor).

Objectives: To assess exposure to BP-3 in a representative sample of the U.S. general population aged 6 years and older.

Methods: We analyzed 2,517 urine samples collected as part of the 2003–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey using automated solid-phase extraction coupled to high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.

Results: We detected BP-3 in 96.8% of the samples. The geometric mean and 95th percentile concentrations were 22.9 µg/L (22.2 µg/g creatinine) and 1,040 µg/L (1,070 µg/g creatinine), respectively. Least square geometric mean (LSGM) concentrations were significantly higher (P≤0.04) for females than for males, regardless of age. LSGM concentrations were significantly higher for non-Hispanic whites than for non-Hispanic blacks (P≤0.01), regardless of age. Females were more likely than males (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 3.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9-6.5), and non-Hispanic whites were more likely than non-Hispanic blacks (adjusted OR, 6.8; 95% CI, 2.9-16.2) to have concentrations above the 95th percentile.

Conclusions: Exposure to BP-3 was prevalent in the general U.S. population during 2003–2004. Differences by sex and race/ethnicity probably reflect differences in use of personal care products containing BP-3.

Full Text

The Full Text of this publication is available from: Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP)

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