Assessment of non-occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons through personal air sampling and urinary biomonitoring

This study investigates non-occupational inhalation and ingestion exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in 8 non-smoking volunteers through personal air sampling and urinary biomonitoring. The study period was divided into 4 segments (2 days/segment), including weekdays with regular commute and weekends with limited traffic related exposures; each segment had a high or low PAH diet. Personal air samples were collected continuously from the subjects while at home, at work, and while commuting to and from work. All urine excretions were collected as individual samples during the study. In personal air samples, 28 PAHs were measured, and in urine samples 9 mono-hydroxylated metabolites (OH-PAHs) from 4 parent PAHs (naphthalene, fluorene, phenanthrene and pyrene) were measured. Naphthalene was found at higher concentrations in air samples collected at the subjects’ residences, whereas PAHs with four or more aromatic rings were found at higher levels in samples taken while commuting. Urinary OH-PAH biomarker levels increased following reported high inhalation and/or dietary exposure. On days with a low PAH diet, the total amount of inhaled naphthalene during each 24-h period was well correlated with the amount of excreted naphthols, as was, to a lesser extent, fluorene with its urinary metabolites. During days with a high dietary intake, only naphthalene was significantly correlated with its excreted metabolite. The authors conclude that these findings suggest that this group of non-occupational subjects were exposed to naphthalene primarily through indoor air inhalation, and exposed to other PAHs such as pyrene mainly through ingestion.

Authors: Li, Zheng; Mulholland, James A.; Romanoff, Lovisa C.; Pittman, Erin N.; Trinidad, Debra A.; Lewin, Michael D.; Sjoedin, Andreas ;Full Source: Journal of Environmental Monitoring 2010, 12(5), 1110-1118 (Eng) ;