Sources of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Exposure in Non-Occupationally Exposed Koreans

Mihi Yang, Soyeon Kim, Eunil Lee, Hae Kwan Cheong, Seong Sil Chang, Daehee Kang, Yunhee Choi, Su Man Lee, Jae Yeon Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP), an exposure biomarker for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), was used to identify potential sources of PAH exposure for 660 Koreans who were not occupationally exposed to PAHs (65% male; 35% female; mean age, 36.5 ± 11.1 years). In this study, 74% of subjects had detectable levels of urinary 1-OHP, with a concentration range of 0.001-3.796 μg/L (median, 0.079 μg/L). A backward elimination was conducted: five variables were selected with a significance level for removal of P ≤ 0.1. The results of this study showed that residence in areas with relatively poor environmental conditions (Seoul and Suwon) was strongly associated with high concentrations of urinary 1-OHP (P = 0.007), while consumption of fried chicken and length of time spent outdoors had marginal positive associations with urinary 1-OHP levels (P = 0.06 and P = 0.09, respectively). Compared with the above three factors, tobacco smoking and urinary cotinine levels were poorly associated with urinary 1-OHP (P = 0.16 and 0.23, respectively). Pear consumption had an inverse association with urinary 1-OHP levels (P < 0.01). Individual variations in urinary 1-OHP concentrations were evaluated by considering the subjects' age, sex, and genetic polymorphisms in enzymes involved in the metabolism of PAHs. Among the individual variations, GSTT1-present subjects showed higher 1-OHP levels than GSTT1-absent subjects in cities having 10-μm particulate matter (PM 10) levels and population density lower than those of Seoul and Suwon (P < 0.05). These epidemiological results suggest that the above factors that should be considered in preventing PAH exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-257
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • 1-hydroxypyrene
  • Biomarker
  • Exposure route
  • Genetic polymorphism
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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