Occupational differences in personal care product use and urinary concentration of endocrine disrupting chemicals by gender

Saerom Kim, Hye Sook Min, Won Jin Lee, Seung Ah Choe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In most societies, women and men systematically differ in consumption of cosmetics and household products, which are interlinked with gendered norms and occupational segregation. We investigated the differences in personal care product (PCP) use and exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) based on occupation and gender. Methods: We utilized data from the first to third Korean National Environmental Health Survey analyzing 9218 participants aged 20–59 years engaged in their current occupation for ≥3 months. Frequent PCP use (≥once/week) and exposure to EDCs were analyzed by gender and occupation. We used least-square geometric means (LSGMs) of urinary concentrations of the five EDCs adjusted for covariates. Results: Manual occupation was most common in men and no paid occupation was most frequent in women. In general, clerical, service, and sales workers showed the highest prevalence of frequent use of hair and body products. Women used body and makeup products more frequently than men. For all five EDCs, similarly, women showed higher urinary levels in all occupation groups. When stratified by gender, the differences in urinary concentration of EDCs across occupation groups were not observed in men. Among women, clerical, service, and sales workers showed higher bisphenol A (BPA) and mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP) levels than manual workers. Conclusions: Differentials in exposure to EDCs by occupation groups were not evident for men. Given the higher urinary concentration of EDCs in women compared to men, interventions to reduce the exposure to EDCs would need to focus on women, especially in clerical, service, and sales occupations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-318
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We appreciate the National Institute of Environmental Research of Korea for providing the dataset.

Funding Information:
This study is funded by the Public Healthcare Research program by the National Medical Center of South Korea (NMC2020-PR-00) and the National Research Foundation (NRF-2018R1D1A1B07048821 and BK21 Center for Integrative Response to Health Disasters, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University (NO.4199990514025)).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc.


  • Chemicals in products
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Vulnerable occupations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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