Prevalence, biotransformation, and maternal transfer of synthetic phenolic antioxidants in pregnant women from South China

Bibai DU , Yun ZHANG, Chung Wah James LAM, Shilei PAN, Yuxin HUANG, Baowei CHEN, Shenyu LAN, Juan LI, Dan LUO, Lixi ZENG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Synthetic phenolic antioxidants (SPAs) have been identified as an emerging group of contaminants in recent years. However, there are significant gaps in our knowledge of human prenatal exposure to these synthetic chemicals. In this study, a set of eight SPAs and four major transformation products (TPs) were systematically analyzed in matched samples of maternal plasma, cord plasma, and placenta from a population of pregnant women. Five of the eight target SPAs and all four target TPs were frequently detected in the maternal–placental–fetal unit, indicating prenatal exposure to SPAs and the transfer of SPAs across the placenta. In the three matrices, 2,6-di-tert-butyl-hydroxytoluene (BHT), 2,4-di-tert-butylphenol (DBP), and 2,2′-methylenebis(4-methyl-6-tert-butylphenol) (AO 2246) were identified as the most abundant SPAs, while 2,6-di-tert-butyl-1,4-benzoquinone (BHT-Q) and 2,6-di-tert-butyl-4-hydroxy-4-methyl-2,5-cyclohexadienone (BHT-quinol) were identified as the predominant TPs of BHT. In the maternal plasma, concentrations of both BHT-Q and BHT-quinol were significantly correlated with BHT (p < 0.001), suggesting that the two TPs mainly originated from the biotransformation of BHT itself in pregnant women. The transplacental transfer efficiencies (TTEs) of the SPAs and TPs were structure-dependent and generally less than 1. Significantly higher TTEs for four target TPs than their parent BHT were identified. To our knowledge, this study provides the first evidence that SPAs and TPs transfer across the placenta in pregnant women. Copyright © 2019 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13959-13969
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Volume53
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Citation

Du, B., Zhang, Y., Lam, J. C. W., Pan, S., Huang, Y., Chen, B., . . . Zeng, L. (2019). Prevalence, biotransformation, and maternal transfer of synthetic phenolic antioxidants in pregnant women from South China. Environmental Science & Technology, 53(23), 13959-13969. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.9b04709

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