An examination of the time course from human dietary exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to urinary elimination of 1-hydroxypyrene

Br J Ind Med. 1992 Feb;49(2):113-24. doi: 10.1136/oem.49.2.113.


The significance of diet as an exposure route for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and the associated kinetics of urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHPY) elimination were examined through a controlled human exposure study. Results showed that a 100 to 250-fold increase in a dietary benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) dose paralleled a four to 12-fold increase in urinary 1-OHPy elimination. Mean elimination rates during minimal exposure periods ranged from 6 to 17 ng/h whereas peak elimination rates of 60 to 189 ng/h were seen after a meal high in PAHs. A biexponential model fitted to a limited number of urinary 1-OHPY elimination points gave mean kinetic parameter estimates for t1/2 of 4.4 hours and tmax of 6.3 hours. It is concluded that dietary exposure to PAHs is potentially as substantial as some occupational exposures and therefore requires consideration in studies of exposure to PAHs. The dietary control strategies and the kinetic parameters defined in this investigation provide data for the control of this exposure route when examining other sources of exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Benzo(a)pyrene / metabolism
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Food Contamination*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Polycyclic Compounds / adverse effects
  • Polycyclic Compounds / metabolism*
  • Pyrenes / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Polycyclic Compounds
  • Pyrenes
  • Benzo(a)pyrene
  • 1-hydroxypyrene