Urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP), an exposure biomarker for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), was used to identify potential sources of PAH exposure for 660 Koreans who were not occupationally exposed to PAHs (65% male; 35% female; mean age, 36.5 +/- 11.1 years). In this study, 74% of subjects had detectable levels of urinary 1-OHP, with a concentration range of 0.001-3.796 microg/L (median, 0.079 microg/L). A backward elimination was conducted: five variables were selected with a significance level for removal of P < or = 0.1. The results of this study showed that residence in areas with relatively poor environmental conditions (Seoul and Suwon) was strongly associated with high concentrations of urinary 1-OHP (P = 0.007), while consumption of fried chicken and length of time spent outdoors had marginal positive associations with urinary 1-OHP levels (P = 0.06 and P = 0.09, respectively). Compared with the above three factors, tobacco smoking and urinary cotinine levels were poorly associated with urinary 1-OHP (P = 0.16 and 0.23, respectively). Pear consumption had an inverse association with urinary 1-OHP levels (P < 0.01). Individual variations in urinary 1-OHP concentrations were evaluated by considering the subjects' age, sex, and genetic polymorphisms in enzymes involved in the metabolism of PAHs. Among the individual variations, GSTT1-present subjects showed higher 1-OHP levels than GSTT1-absent subjects in cities having 10-microm particulate matter (PM(10)) levels and population density lower than those of Seoul and Suwon (P < 0.05). These epidemiological results suggest that the above factors that should be considered in preventing PAH exposure.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.