Secondhand smoke exposure and urine cotinine concentrations by occupation among korean workers: Results from the 2008 korea national survey for environmental pollutants in the human body

So Ryong Lee, Chae Kwan Lee, Hosub Im, Wonho Yang, Sang Hwa Urm, Seung Do Yu, Jin Heon Lee, Chun Hui Suh, Kun Hyung Kim, Byung Chul Son, Jeong Ho Kim, Se Yeong Kim, Soo Woong Lee, Jong-Tae Lee

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This study aimed to estimate the status of secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure through urine cotinine analysis among nonsmoking workers in Korea and to analyze factors affecting urine cotinine concentrations. Data were based on "The 2008 Korea National Survey for Environmental Pollutants in the Human Body," a cross-sectional study of the National Institute of Environmental Research of Korea. We selected 1448 nonsmoking adult workers from 200 localities to participate in this survey. Urine cotinine concentrations were analyzed using a gas chromatograph-mass selective detector. We calculated separate covariate-adjusted geometric means for socio-demographic variables for males, females, and total subjects by analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS version 18.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Ill.). The prevalence of self-reported exposure to SHS was 36.9%. The geometric mean (95% confidence interval) of urine cotinine concentrations among all participants was 16.50 (14.48-18.80) g/L. Gender, living area, education, and SHS exposure showed significant differences in urine cotinine concentrations. The urine cotinine concentrations of farmworkers and blue-collar workers such as skilled agricultural, forestry, and fishery workers, and elementary occupations were higher than those of white-collar workers such as clerical support workers, technicians, and associate professionals. Such a high proportion of the population having high urine cotinine levels indicates widespread exposure to SHS among nonsmoking workers in Korea. Furthermore, the urine cotinine levels among nonsmoking workers exposed to SHS varied by occupation. The measured urine cotinine concentration is suggested to be a valuable indication of SHS exposure in Korea. © 2014

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-325
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014 May 4
Externally publishedYes



  • Occupation
  • secondhand smoke
  • urine cotinine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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