TitleTrends in urinary metabolites of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the non-smoking U.S. population, NHANES 2001-2014.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsHudson-Hanley, B, Smit, E, Branscum, A, Hystad, P, Kile, ML
Date Published2021 Aug
KeywordsBiological Monitoring, Biomarkers, Child, Creatinine, Diet, Environmental Monitoring, Humans, Nutrition Surveys, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

BACKGROUND: Recent studies indicate airborne PAH levels have decreased in the U.S., but it is unclear if this has resulted in PAH exposure changes in the U.S.


OBJECTIVE: Examine temporal trends in urinary metabolites of Naphthalene, Fluorene, Phenanthrene, and Pyrene in U.S. non-smokers, 6+ years old.

METHODS: We used biomonitoring data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) program, 2001-2014, (N = 11,053) using survey weighted linear regression. Models were adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, creatinine, BMI, income, diet, and seasonality. Stratified models evaluated the effect of age, sex, and race/ethnicity on trends.

RESULTS: Between 2001 and 2014, Naphthalene exposure increased 36% (p < 0.01); Pyrene exposure increased 106% (p < 0.01); Fluorene and Phenanthrene exposure decreased 55% (p < 0.01), and 37% (p < 0.01), respectively. Naphthalene was the most abundant urinary PAH, 20-fold higher than Fluorene and Phenanthrene, and over 50-fold higher than Pyrene compared to reference groups, effect modification was observed by age (Naphthalene, Pyrene), sex (Fluorene, Pyrene), and race/ethnicity (Naphthalene, Fluorene, Phenanthrene, Pyrene).

SIGNIFICANCE: This study shows exposure to Naphthalene and Pyrene increased, while exposure to Fluorene and Phenanthrene decreased among the non-smoking U.S. general population between 2001 and 2014, suggesting environmental sources of PAHs have changed over the time period.

Alternate JournalChemosphere
PubMed ID33743418
PubMed Central IDPMC8172479
Grant ListP42 ES016465 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States