Urinary levels of 1-hydroxypyrene in children residing near a coal-fired power plant

Environ Res. 2011 Nov;111(8):1185-91. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2011.07.004. Epub 2011 Jul 30.


Background: The effects of emissions from coal-fired power plants on children's exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are not well understood.

Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the sources and the urinary levels of 1-hydroxypyrene, a biomarker of exposure to PAHs, among children living in proximity to a coal-fired power plant.

Methods: Study areas consisted of two high exposure and two low exposure communities, at different distances and directions from a large coal-fired power plant in central Taiwan. Study subjects included 369 children aged 1-13 years and randomly selected from each community. Each child's urinary 1-hydroxypyrene concentration was measured by a high-performance liquid chromatography-fluorescence detector method. Samples of ambient air were analyzed for PAHs using a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry method. Information on important factors was collected by an interview using a structured questionnaire. Multiple regression analysis was used to assess factors significantly associated with urinary 1-hydroxypyrene levels.

Results: Levels of PAHs in ambient air in the high exposure communities were higher than those in the low exposure communities. Children living in high exposure communities had higher mean urinary 1-hydroxypyrene concentrations than those in low exposure communities (0.186 and 0.194 vs. 0.113 and 0.122 μmol/mol-creatinine, respectively). The difference in urinary 1-hydroxypyrene levels between the high exposure communities and one low exposure community remained significant after adjusting for age, gender, environmental tobacco smoke, dietary exposure, and traffic.

Conclusions: Children living in communities downwind of and in proximity to the coal-fired power plant had significantly increased urinary 1-hydroxypyrene levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Coal*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Power Plants*
  • Pyrenes / analysis*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Taiwan
  • Urine / chemistry*


  • Coal
  • Pyrenes
  • 1-hydroxypyrene