Key messages: Bisphenol A (BPA) concentrations in human urine decreased significantly from 2014-2020 according to data from nine European countries. This likely resulted from regulatory measures implemented during the period. Despite this decrease, BPA exposure still exceeds the health based guidance value. Of two possible alternatives to BPA, bisphenol S (BPS) showed a slight increasing trend in concentrations, while bisphenol F (BPF) showed a slight decreasing trend.

Bisphenol concentrations measured in human urine samples in EU Member States*, 2014–2020

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Bisphenols were prioritised for human biomonitoring under the EU research project HBM4EU because they have endocrine-disrupting properties and are used in many everyday products.  

For the period 2014-2020, data show a significant trend towards decreasing BPA concentrations in human urine in Europe. It is likely that the declining trend for BPA resulted from use restrictions that came into force in 2018 for toys and food contact materials, and for thermal paper in 2020. Further decline may be expected as BPA is gradually replaced by other chemicals. It is worth noting the small increasing trend for the substitute BPS, which has many of the same concerning properties that BPA has. 

Measurements of BPA in human urine can be compared with the human biomonitoring guidance value (HBM-GV) to assess whether exposure creates a potential risk. For BPA, the sample populations’ exceedance levels ranged from 71% to 100%. This is based on a newly-established health based guidance value from the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), recalculated to a urinary concentration of 11.5 ng/L (nanograms per litre) for adults. 

Human biomonitoring studies have reported different limits of quantification (LOQ), but in all cases it is above the HBM-GV. This means that the reported exceedances are minimum numbers. Consequently, it is likely that populations in all Member States have exceedance rates of 100% exposed above safe levels

The Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC), a 7-year partnership under Horizon Europe, has prioritised bisphenols for further human biomonitoring. This will provide further data in the coming years on the occurrence of BPA and other bisphenols in the European population. 

The HBM4EU aligned studies survey (from the HBM4EU project, 2016-2022) was used to generate baseline levels of internal concentrations of the bisphenols BPA, BPS and BPF. Data on median concentrations were retrieved from HBM4EU’s European Human Biomonitoring Dashboard

Contrarily to the signal on the Risks of chemical mixtures in humans, the data are here presented disaggregated. 

The selected biomarkers were BPA total, BPS total and BPF total. All matrix types were selected (24-hour, first morning and random spot urine). The chosen unit was μg/g creatinine (i.e. microgram/gram), because it is generally preferable for comparing monitoring data from different matrix types. Only data collected under the HBM4EU programme, or data deemed comparable by the HBM4EU quality assurance unit, were included. Differences in sampling sizes for each data point were not taken into account. 

Data from various age groups are included, and urine samples were collected in nine countries (Croatia, Czechia, Finland, France, Iceland, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland). The trend is statistically significant for BPA. However, it is worth noting that each value originates from a single country and monitoring period, bringing some uncertainty to the overall trend. 

The EFSA recently established a tolerable daily intake (TDI) for BPAof 0.2 nanograms per kilogram of body weight (ng/kg bw) per day. The TDI can be converted into a corresponding concentration of BPA in urine (a human biomonitoring guidance value or HBM-GV) using the methodology established under HBM4EU

The calculations were performed using the same methodology and assumptions used to derive a HBM-GV for BPA from a previous temporary TDI from EFSA. The new EFSA TDI of 0.2 ng/kg bw/day translates into an HBM-GV of 11.5 ng/L of total urinary BPA for adults, which can then be used to assess whether current levels of exposure to BPA lead to a potential public health problem in the European population. 

Relevant objective under the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability  

  • Restore human health and environment to a good quality status. 

References and footnotes

  1. Apel, P., et al., 2020, Human biomonitoring initiative (HBM4EU) – Strategy to derive human biomonitoring guidance values (HBM-GVs) for health risk assessment. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 230.
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  2. EEA, 2023, ‘Human exposure to Bisphenol A in Europe’, European Environment Agency, (
  3. EFSA, 2023, Re-evaluation of the risks to public health related to the presence of bisphenol A (BPA) in foodstuffs. EFSA Journal 21(4):6857.
  4. Ougier, E., et al., 2021, Human biomonitoring initiative (HBM4EU): Human biomonitoring guidance values (HBM-GVs) derived for bisphenol A. Environ. Int. 154, 106563 (