Benzotriazoles and benzothiazoles in human urine from several countries: a perspective on occurrence, biotransformation, and human exposure

Environ Int. 2013 Sep;59:274-81. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2013.06.007. Epub 2013 Jul 12.


Benzotriazole (BTR) and benzothiazole (BTH) derivatives are high-production-volume chemicals that are mainly used as corrosion inhibitors, and are widely distributed in the environment. BTR derivatives are found in plastics, dishwasher detergents, dry cleaning equipment, and de-icing/anti-icing fluids. BTH derivatives are found in rubber materials, herbicides, slimicides, algicides, fungicides, photosensitizers, azo dyes, drugs, de-icing/anti-icing fluids, and food flavors. However, exposure of humans to BTRs and BTHs is still not known. In this study, six BTRs (1H-benzotriazole, 1-hydroxy-benzotriazole, 4- and 5-hydroxy-benzotriazole [mixture of two isomers], tolyltriazole, xylyltriazole [or 5,6-dimethyl-1H-benzotriazole], and 5-chloro-benzotriazole) and six BTHs (benzothiazole, 2-morpholin-4-yl-benzothiazole, 2-hydroxy-benzothiazole, 2-methylthio-benzothiazole, 2-amino-benzothiazole, and 2-thiocyanomethylthio-benzothiazole) were determined in human urine collected from general populations in seven countries (the U.S., Greece, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, China, and India). The median urinary concentration of the sum of five BTRs (Σ5BTRs; 4- and 5-hydroxy-benzotriazole were not included) ranged from 0.2 (Korea) to 2.8 (India)ng/mL among the countries studied, with the highest concentration of 24.5ng/mL found in a sample from China. Xylyltriazole was found more frequently in urine from all five Asian countries than in urine from the U.S. and Greece. The median concentration of the sum of the six BTHs (Σ6BTHs) ranged from 3.6 (U.S.) to 10.9 (Japan)ng/mL among the countries studied, with a maximum detection rate of 100% in urine samples from Vietnam; BTH was the predominant derivative, accounting for, on average, 43% of the Σ6BTH concentration. Based on the concentrations and detection rates of several BTR and BTH derivatives in urine, possible metabolic transformation pathways of these compounds were presented and human exposure doses calculated. The estimated daily intake doses of BTRs and BTHs were on the order of a few to few tens of micrograms per day.

Keywords: 1-OH-BTR; 1-hydroxy-benzotriazole; 1H-BTR; 1H-benzotriazole; 2-M-BTH; 2-Me-S-BTH; 2-OH-BTH; 2-SCNMeS-BTH; 2-amino-BTH; 2-amino-benzothiazole; 2-hydroxy-benzothiazole; 2-methylthio-benzothiazole; 2-morpholin-4-yl-benzothiazole; 2-thiocyanomethylthio-benzothiazole; 4-Me-1H-BTR; 4-OH-BTR; 4-hydroxy-benzotriazole; 4-methyl-1H-benzotriazole; 5-Cl-1H-BTR; 5-Me-1H-BTR; 5-OH-BTR; 5-chloro-1H-benzotriazole; 5-hydroxy-benzotriazole; 5-methyl-1H-benzotriazole; BTH; Benzothiazole; Benzotriazole; Biomonitoring; Hydroxy-benzotriazole; LLOQ; LOD; Limit of Detection; Lower Limit of Quantification; Metabolism; RSD; Relative Standard Deviation; TTR; Urine; XTR; benzothiazole; or 5,6-diMe-1H-BTR, xylyltriazole; tolyltriazole.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Benzothiazoles / pharmacokinetics
  • Benzothiazoles / urine*
  • Biotransformation
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • China
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Greece
  • Humans
  • India
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Republic of Korea
  • Triazoles / pharmacokinetics
  • Triazoles / urine*
  • United States
  • Vietnam
  • Young Adult


  • Benzothiazoles
  • Triazoles
  • benzotriazole
  • benzothiazole