Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Internet Explorer is no longer a supported browser.

This website may not display properly with Internet Explorer. For the best experience, please use a more recent browser such as the latest versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and/or Mozilla Firefox. Thank you.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Progress Reports: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: Development and Application of Biomarkers of Exposure

Superfund Research Program

Development and Application of Biomarkers of Exposure

Project Leader: Stephen M. Rappaport (University of California-Berkeley)
Grant Number: P42ES005948
Funding Period: 1995 - 2011

Learn More About the Grantee

Visit the grantee's eNewsletter page Visit the grantee's Twitter page Visit the grantee's Video page

Progress Reports

Year:   2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999  1998  1997  1996  1995 

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous environmental contaminants that are present in most waste sites on the National Priorities List identified by the Environmental Protection Agency. These chemicals are also in air, water, and food throughout the world. Although epidemiologic studies have shown that PAH exposures are associated with cancers, exposure-response relationships are unclear due to the lack of quantitative exposure data for the hundreds of individual PAH compounds emanating from a particular source. In this project, the researchers are developing and applying biomarkers of exposure to PAHs to quantify better exposures of PAHs in humans. A host of biomarkers is being applied, including protein adducts of reactive intermediates of PAH metabolism, unmetabolized PAHs in urine, and PAH metabolites in urine. These biomarkers are being measured in several hundred specimens of blood and urine collected from persons exposed to PAHs in various environments, namely, coke and steel factories, the trucking industry, the asphalt industry, and homes where coal is used for fuel. Using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry, they have developed assays to measure protein adducts of PAHs, unmetabolized PAHs in urine, and urinary metabolites of PAHs, with extremely high sensitivity and specificity. These methods will facilitate the quantitation of PAH exposures in epidemiology studies of health effects. For example, current work with samples of urine from asphalt workers indicates that levels of hydroxylated phenanthrene, a three-ring PAH, is a particularly good surrogate for exposures to all PAHs from a given source and can also differentiate PAH exposures arising from inhalation and dermal absorption. This work has important implications for the assessment of low levels of PAH exposures among persons in the workplace and in the general population.

Back
to Top