Seventy-six male volunteers, who were not occupationally exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), participated in a study on the effect of tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, dietary PAH intake, age, and body fat content on the baseline excretion of 1-hydroxypyrene in urine. Major determinants of urinary 1-hydroxypyrene excretion were smoking, dietary PAH intake, and age. The mean 1-hydroxypyrene concentrations in the urine of the volunteers in this study ranged between 0.05 and 0.79 mumol/mol creatinine. Smokers excreted on average 0.25 mumol/mol creatinine (range: 0.10-0.79 mumol/mol creatinine), and nonsmokers on average 0.12 mumol/mol creatinine (range: 0.04-0.29 mumol/mol creatinine). The average number of cigarettes smoked per day correlated well with urinary 1-hydroxypyrene concentrations (rs = 0.67, P < 0.001). The consumption of PAH-containing food products and active smoking account for 99% of total pyrene intake. The effect of age on 1-hydroxypyrene excretion is probably caused by a lower creatinine excretion in the elderly. Passive smoking and fat content had a statistically significant, but negligible effect on urinary 1-hydroxypyrene excretion. Passive smoking and the inhalation of ambient air are relatively in important for total pyrene intake (both account for less than 1%). Neither the consumption of alcohol nor the inhalation of ambient air significantly affected urinary 1-hydroxypyrene excretion. It is concluded that when urinary 1-OH-pyrene excretion is used in the assessment of PAH exposure, one should particularly be aware of the interindividual variability of the baseline excretion of PAH metabolites due to tobacco smoking and dietary PAH intake.