Fate of UV filter Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate in rat model and human urine: Metabolism, exposure and demographic associations

Yanran Huang, Japhet Cheuk-Fung Law, Yingya Zhao, Huijing Shi, Yunhui Zhang, Kelvin Sze-Yin Leung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (EHMC) is one of the most frequently used UV filters in sunscreens and other cosmetic products. Its ubiquitous presence in various environmental matrices and its endocrine disrupting properties have been widely reported. However, we know little about the effect of EHMC exposure on humans, mainly due to its fast metabolism. In this study, urine and plasma of EHMC-dosed rats were analysed to identify its major metabolites. Five metabolites were found, with four firstly reported. Two metabolites were putatively identified as 4-methoxycinnamic acid (4-MCA) and 4′-methoxyacetophenone (4′-MAP). Quantitative results revealed that their excretion concentrations were much higher than the parent compound. Because of these high concentrations, for the human biomonitoring study, EHMC and these two metabolites were detected simultaneously in urine samples from Chinese children and adolescents. The results indicated wide exposure to EHMC, 4-MCA and 4′-MAP. The correlation between urinary concentration of EHMC and 4-MCA as well as 4-MCA and 4′-MAP provided important clues as to the sources and metabolic pathways among these three compounds. Several demographic factors were also assessed with the exposure level. As the first human exposure study of EHMC in a Chinese population, this report would help to establish an exposure database facilitating health risk assessment of EHMC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-736
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • EHMC
  • Q-TOF-MS
  • Metabolite
  • Human biomonitoring


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