Ambient and biological monitoring of cokeoven workers: determinants of the internal dose of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Br J Ind Med. 1990 Jul;47(7):454-61. doi: 10.1136/oem.47.7.454.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) were measured in the breathing zone air of 56 battery workers at two cokeovens during three consecutive days. The concentration of total PAH ranged up to 186 micrograms/m3. Preshift and end of shift urine samples were collected to determine 1-hydroxypyrene, a metabolite of pyrene. Control urine samples were available from 44 workers in the shipping yard of a hot rolling mill. The median values of 1-hydroxypyrene in urine of smoking and non-smoking controls were 0.51 and 0.17 mumol/mol creatinine, respectively. Concentrations of 1-hydroxypyrene up to 11.2 mumol/mol were found in the urine of the cokeoven workers. At the start of the three day working period after 32 hours off work, the 1-hydroxypyrene concentrations were four times higher and at the end of the working period 10 times higher compared with control concentrations. Excretion of 1-hydroxypyrene occurred with a half life of 6-35 hours. Both the ambient air monitoring data and the biological monitoring data showed that the topside workers were the heaviest exposed workers. The relation between air monitoring data and biological monitoring data was not strong. Multiple regression analysis was performed to identify determinants of the internal dose. The combination of exposure and smoking amplify each other and the use of a protective airstream helmet decreases the internal dose. An effect of alcohol consumption and the use of medication on the toxicokinetics of pyrene was not found.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis*
  • Coal*
  • Coke*
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutagens / analysis
  • Polycyclic Compounds / analysis*
  • Pyrenes / analysis
  • Smoking / metabolism


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Coal
  • Coke
  • Mutagens
  • Polycyclic Compounds
  • Pyrenes
  • 1-hydroxypyrene