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AUTHOR COMMENTARIES - From Special Topics

Bisphenol A (BPA) - August 2009
Interview Date: August 2009
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Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Antonia Calafat
From the Special Topic of Bisphenol A

The paper "Urinary concentrations of bisphenol A and 4-nonylphenol in a human reference population" (Calafat AM, et al., Environ. Health Perspect. 113[4]: 391-5, April 2005) is a key paper in the Research Front Map on Bisphenol A, with 113 cites. In Essential Science IndicatorsSM from Thomson Reuters, it is also a Highly Cited Paper in the field of Environment & Ecology.


The lead author of this paper is Dr. Antonia Calafat. Her record in our database includes 111 papers cited a total of 2,132 times between January 1, 1999 and April 30, 2009. Dr. Calafat is a Lead Research Chemist in the Organic Analytical Toxicology Branch of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health.

In the interview below, she talks with ScienceWatch.com about the paper and its impact on bisphenol A toxicology.

 Would you please describe the significance of your paper and why it is highly cited?

This manuscript reported the first data on human exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) in the United States. Specifically, our data were the first to confirm that exposure to BPA occurs among a diverse non-occupationally exposed group of US adults.

 How did you become involved in this research, and were there any particular successes or obstacles that stand out?

"Biomonitoring provides an integrated measure of exposure from all sources and routes, and is a useful approach for investigating human exposure to environmental chemicals, including bisphenol A."

Biomonitoring (i.e., measurement of environmental chemicals, their metabolites, or specific reaction products in human biological specimens such as blood or urine) to assess internal exposure (i.e., body burden) has increased considerably in the last few decades. Advanced laboratory science (i.e., highly sensitive, specific, and selective analytical methods) is essential for assessing human exposure to these chemicals. Using state-of-the-art analytical techniques, the Environmental Health Laboratory at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducts the most extensive assessment of the exposure of the general US population to bisphenol A and other selected environmental chemicals using biomonitoring.

 Where do you see your research and the broader field leading in the future?

Biomonitoring provides an integrated measure of exposure from all sources and routes, and is a useful approach for investigating human exposure to environmental chemicals, including bisphenol A. Biomonitoring’s value lies in decreasing the uncertainty of assessing human exposure, and in vastly improving the ability to make timely and appropriate public health decisions. Biomonitoring, however, is only one of the tools that can be used to assess exposure; others include collecting exposure history/questionnaire information, and environmental monitoring. The most comprehensive approach for exposure assessment would combine biomonitoring, environmental monitoring, and exposure history/questionnaire data.

 What are the implications of your work for this field?

The probability of nonoccupational human exposure to chemicals such as BPA is high given their high production volumes and extensive use in consumer products. However, many sources of exposure to some of these chemicals, especially those that are not considered "active" in a given commercial product, are unknown. Additional research is needed to identify all sources and pathways of human exposure to these widely used chemicals.

Furthermore, although some of these chemicals are toxic in experimental animals, the potential adverse health effects of these compounds in humans are largely unknown. The CDC’s internal dose measurements of bisphenol A and other environmental chemicals are useful for determining if the target chemical is being absorbed into the body. If so, further research is necessary to associate these internal levels with dose and potential health outcomes.

Antonia Calafat
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Coordinating Center for Environmental Health and Injury Prevention
National Center for Environmental Health
Division of Laboratory Sciences
Organic Analytical Toxicology Branch
Atlanta, GA, USA

Antonia Calafat's current most-cited paper in Essential Science Indicators, with 206 cites:
Swan SH, et. Al., "Decrease in anogenital distance among male infants with prenatal phthalate exposure," Environ. Health Perspect. 113(8): 1056-61, August 2005.
Antonia Calafat's featured paper in the Research Front map titled, "Bisphenol A," for this special topic with 113 cites to date:
Calafat A, et al., "Urinary concentrations of bisphenol A and 4-nonylphenol in a human reference population," Environ. Health Perspect. 113(4): 391-5, April 2005.

Source for both papers above: Essential Science Indicators from Thomson Reuters.

KEYWORDS: BISPHENOL A, EXPOSURE, HUMAN, BIOMONITORING, NHANES III, NONYLPHENOL, URINE, CHROMATOGRAPHY-MASS SPECTROMETRY, P-NONYLPHENOL, ALKYLPHENOLIC COMPOUNDS, LIQUID-CHROMATOGRAPHY, ESTROGENIC ACTIVITY, ENVIRONMENTAL FATE, ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING, EXPOSURE HISTORY.

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Special Topics : Bisphenol A : Antonia Calafat Interview - Special Topic of Bisphenol A (BPA)