- FAMRI Center
Exposure and Kinetics of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Cigarette Smokers
Chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are known to cause cancer in humans and are present in tobacco smoke. To better understand the health risks of cigarette smoke for both smokers and nonsmokers, it is important that human exposure to PAHs be characterized. The challenge is that PAH compounds are not specific to tobacco smoke and are given off in vehicle exhaust, industrial pollution, and ingested when we consume foods like charbroiled meats. The objectives of this study by Dr. Gideon St.Helen and colleagues, in Dr. Neal Benowitz’s laboratory, were to determine 1) The relative selectivity of multiple PAH metabolites for tobacco smoke exposure, and 2) the half-lives of PAH metabolites in smokers.
Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that hydroxyfluorenes and 2-naphthol are the most selective PAH biomarkers of tobacco smoke. This study is important because it supports the use of hydroxyfluorenes and 2-naphthol as biomarkers of PAH exposure from tobacco smoke instead of 1-hydroxypyrene as commonly used, and which this study showed is a poor biomarker of PAH exposure from tobacco smoke. To read full article, click here