Dietary and inhalation exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and urinary excretion of monohydroxy metabolites--a controlled case study in Beijing, China

Environ Pollut. 2014 Jan;184:515-22. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2013.10.005. Epub 2013 Oct 29.


Daily dietary and inhalation exposures to 16 parent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and urinary excretion of 13 monohydroxy metabolites (OHPAHs) were monitored for 12 non-smoking university students in Beijing, China, during a controlled feeding experiment. The relationship between the urinary excretion of OHPAHs and the uptake of PAHs was investigated. The results suggest severe exposure of the subjects to PAHs via both dietary and inhalation pathways. Large increase of most urinary OHPAHs occurred after the ingestion of lamb kabob. Higher concentrations of OHPAHs were observed for female subjects, with the intakes of parent PAHs lower than those by males, likely due to the gender differences in metabolism. It appears that besides 1-PYR, metabolites of PHE could also be used as biomarkers to indicate the short-term dietary exposure to PAHs and urinary 3-BaA may serve as the biomarker for inhalation intake of high molecular weight PAHs.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Dietary exposure; Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; Urinary excretion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • China
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Food Contamination / analysis
  • Food Contamination / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis
  • Inhalation Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / metabolism
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / urine*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons