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J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2010 Jul;20(5):427-33. doi: 10.1038/jes.2009.32. Epub 2009 Jun 3.

A biomarker approach to estimate the daily intake of benzene in non-smoking and smoking individuals in Germany.

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  • 1Institute for Occupational and Social Medicine, Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstrasse 30, Aachen D-52074, Germany. tschettgen@ukaachen.de


Owing to its carcinogenic properties, benzene is one of the most important environmental air pollutants. We have applied a simple pharmacokinetic model to estimate the individual daily exposure of persons of the general population to benzene using their urinary excretion of S-phenylmercapturic acid as biomarker of exposure. On the basis of a non-representative convenience sample of the general population, spontaneous urine samples of 43 non-smoking persons, 13 persons with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) (as determined by urinary cotinine) and 72 smokers were analyzed for S-phenylmercapturic acid, and benzene exposure was back calculated on the basis of the results. The pharmacokinetic model was based either on estimated daily urinary volume or creatinine excretion. Median daily exposure of non-smokers was calculated to be 47 microg/day (volume-based model) and 63 microg benzene/day (creatinine-based model). ETS-exposed persons had a slightly higher median daily exposure of 65 microg/day (volume-based model) and 72 microg benzene/day (creatinine-based model). The daily exposure of smokers was significantly higher with median values of 491 microg benzene/day (volume-based model) and 693 microg benzene/day (creatinine-based model). Our biomarker-based model gave plausible results for daily benzene exposure that were in good agreement with exposure estimations published earlier. As it is purely based on the determination of individual internal dose, our model provides a powerful tool for the risk assessment of environmental benzene.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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