Predictors of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure and internal dose in inner city Baltimore children

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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the by-products of incomplete combustion of organic materials, are commonly found on particulate matter (PM) and have been associated with the development of asthma and asthma exacerbation in urban populations. We examined time spent in the home and outdoors as predictors of exposures to airborne PAHs and measured urinary 1-hydroxypyrene-glucuronide (1-OHPG) as internal dose of PAHs in 118 children aged 5–12 years from Baltimore, MD. During weeklong periods (Saturday-Saturday) in each of four seasons: daily activities were assessed using questionnaires, indoor air nicotine and PM concentrations were monitored, and urine specimens were collected on Tuesday (day 3) and Saturday (day 7) for measurement of 1-OHPG. Time spent in non-smoking homes was associated with significantly decreased 1-OHPG concentration in urine (β = -0.045, 95% CI (-0.076, -0.013)), and secondhand smoke (SHS) exposures modified these associations, with higher urinary 1-OHPG concentrations in children spending time in smoking homes than non-smoking homes (P-value for interaction = 0.012). Time spent outdoors was associated with increased urinary 1-OHPG concentrations (β = 0.097, 95% CI (0.037, 0.157)) in boys only. Our results suggest that SHS and ambient (outdoor) air pollution contribute to internal dose of PAHs in inner city children.

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