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.