OBJECTIVE--The aim was to assess the determinants of benzo(a)pyrenediol epoxide adducts to haemoglobin (BaPDE-Hb) in workers exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). METHODS--This was a study of the correlations between the concentrations of PAHs in air, 1-hydroxyprene in urine, and BaPDE-Hb adduct concentration in the blood in 206 men working in steel foundries and one graphite electrode producing plant, taking into consideration confounding factors such as smoking and dietary habits. RESULTS--BaPDE-Hb adduct concentration was correlated (r = 0.26; p = 0.0002) with the airborne PAH concentration and was influenced by tobacco consumption but not by dietary habits. Benzo(a)-pyrene concentration in air, 1-hydroxypyrene concentration in urine, and duration of exposure to PAHs were not associated with the adduct concentration. CONCLUSION--Although environmental exposure to PAHs was statistically associated with BaPDE-Hb adduct concentration, differences between individual subjects in the metabolism of benzo(a)pyrene probably play an important part in determining the amount of BaPDE-Hb adducts formed.
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