Detection of Bisphenols in Breast Milk

Detection of Bisphenols in Breast Milk


Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in the production of, e.g., plastics for water pipes or bottles and for thermal receipt paper. There are health concerns regarding the compound, which is an endocrine disruptor, i.e., it can mimic the effects of hormones. This has led to restrictions for the use of BPA, which is often replaced by its derivatives.

BPA-like compounds could be particularly problematic for infants, which typically are exposed via breast milk. Breast milk can be monitored to provide an indication of BPA exposure. However, there is not much information on the occurrence of BPA derivatives in breast milk and a lack of analytical approaches for the simultaneous detection of different bisphenols.

Bing Shao, Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control and China Agricultural University, Beijing, and colleagues have developed an analytical method that can simultaneously detect different bisphenols in breast milk, while requiring only small sample sizes of 200 μL. The team collected breast milk samples from volunteers in the Hunan Province of China. A commercially available sorbent was used to prepare the samples and remove lipids. Then, the bisphenols were derivatized using pyridine-3-sulfonyl chloride to reduce the impact of matrix effects and subsequently analyzed using liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS).

The researchers found BPA, bisphenol S, bisphenol F, and bisphenol AF in the samples. For the latter two compounds, this is the first report of their occurrence in breast milk. The analysis indicates non-negligible levels of these BPA substitutes in the breast milk samples. BPA itself was the most common derivative found. The developed detection method has a high sensitivity and can be used for high-throughput screenings.


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