Background concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons metabolites in Portuguese firemen Conference Paper uri icon


  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous environmental pollutants produced by the incomplete combustion of organic materials. PAHs may pose risks to human health as many of the individual compounds are cytotoxic and mutagenic to both lower and higher organisms, being some of them regarded as carcinogenic. Pyrene is by far the most characterized PAH in all sample matrices, and is classified as PAH marker of exposure while benzo(a)pyrene is considered the biomarker of carcinogenic exposure to PAHs. Among the 16 PAHs established by US EPA as priority pollutants, naphthalene, acenaphthene, fluorene, and phenanthrene are also found in almost all the matrices. Workers from industrial settings where airborne PAH levels are high such as coke works and the primary aluminium industry, show excess rates of cancers. Firemen are also exposed to high concentrations of PAHs during firefighting; however their biomonitoring is difficult and epidemiological studies are scarce. During the last decade, the urinary 1-hydroxypyrene has been used as a biomarker of environmental and occupational exposure to PAHs. Still no standard reference or occupational guidelines are available for any urinary PAH metabolite. Within the present work, sixty healthy and no smoking Portuguese firemen from ten Portuguese corporations from the district of Bragança (North of Portugal) were evaluated regarding their levels of the most important urinary hydroxyl- PAHs:

publication date

  • January 1, 2015