Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in maternal and umbilical cord blood from pregnant Hispanic women living in Brownsville, Texas

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Aug;8(8):3365-79. doi: 10.3390/ijerph8083365. Epub 2011 Aug 17.


Venous blood was drawn from 35 pregnant Hispanic women living in Brownsville, Texas, and matched cord blood was collected at birth. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry was used to measure concentrations of 55 individual PAHs or groups of PAHs. Results indicate that these women and their fetuses were regularly exposed to multiple PAHs at comparatively low concentrations, with levels in cord blood generally exceeding levels in paired maternal blood. While the possibility of related adverse effects on the fetus is uncertain, these exposures in combination with socioeconomically-disadvantaged and environmentally-challenging living conditions raise legitimate public health concerns.

Keywords: PAHs; biomarkers; fetal exposure; maternal exposure; prenatal exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Environmental Pollutants / metabolism
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / blood*
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / metabolism
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / toxicity
  • Pregnancy
  • Texas
  • Young Adult


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons