Thursday, 23 June 2016

Accumulation profiles of parabens and their metabolites in fish, black bear, and birds, including bald eagles and albatrosses

  • a Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, and Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, NY 12201, United States
  • b Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Science and Experimental Biochemistry Unit, King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


Accumulation of parabens and their metabolites were determined in fish and birds.
4-Hydroxy benzoate concentrations as high as 68,600 ng/g were found in bird liver.
4-HB concentrations as high as 10,500 ng/g were found in fish liver.
Methyl paraben and 4-HB concentrations were significantly correlated in fish and birds.


Although several studies have reported the ubiquitous occurrence of parabens in human specimens and the environment, little is known about the accumulation of these estrogenic chemicals in fish and birds. In this study, accumulation profiles of six parabens and their metabolites were determined in 254 tissue (including liver, kidney, egg, and plasma) samples from 12 species of fish and seven species of birds collected from inland, coastal, and remote aquatic ecosystems. In addition, liver and kidney tissues from black bears were analyzed. Methyl paraben (MeP) was found in a majority of the tissues, with the highest concentration (796 ng/g (wet weight [wet wt])) found in the liver of a bald eagle from Michigan. 4-Hydroxy benzoate (HB) was the major metabolite, found in 91% of the tissue samples analyzed at concentrations as high as 68,600 ng/g, wet wt, which was found in the liver of a white-tailed sea eagle from the Baltic Sea coast. The accumulation pattern of MeP and 4-HB varied, depending on the species. The mean concentrations of MeP measured in fishes from Michigan, New York, and Florida waters were < 2.01 (fillet), 152 (liver), and 32.0 (liver) ng/g, wet wt, respectively, and the corresponding 4-HB concentrations were 39.5, 10,500, and 642 ng/g, wet wt. The mean hepatic and renal concentrations of 4-HB in black bears were 1,720 and 1,330 ng/g, wet wt, respectively. The concentrations of MeP and 4-HB were significantly positively correlated with each other in various tissues and species, which suggested a common source of exposure to these compounds in fish and birds. Trace concentrations of MeP and 4-HB also were found in the tissues of albatrosses from Midway Atoll, Northwestern Pacific Ocean, which suggested widespread distribution of these compounds in the marine environment.


  • Parabens;
  • 4-HB;
  • Hydroxy benzoate;
  • Birds;
  • Fish;
  • Albatross;
  • Black bear
Corresponding author at: Wadsworth Center, Empire State Plaza, P.O. Box 509, Albany, NY 12201-0509, United States.

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