Environment international

Biomonitoring of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure in pregnant women in Trujillo, Peru--comparison of different fuel types used for cooking.

PMID 23314038


Women and children in developing countries are often exposed to high levels of air pollution including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which may negatively impact their health, due to household combustion of biomass fuel for cooking and heating. We compared creatinine adjusted hydroxy-PAH (OH-PAH) concentrations in pregnant women in Trujillo, Peru who cook with wood to levels measured in those who cook with kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas or a combination of fuels. Seventy-nine women were recruited for the study between May and July 2004 in the first trimester of their pregnancy. Urine samples were collected from the subjects in the first, second and third trimesters for OH-PAH analyses. The concentrations of the OH-PAHs were compared across the type of fuel used for cooking and pregnancy trimesters. The relationships between OH-PAHs levels in the first trimester and concurrently measured personal exposures to PM₂.₅, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide together with their indoor and outdoor air concentrations were also investigated. Women cooking with wood or kerosene had the highest creatinine adjusted OH-PAH concentrations compared with those using gas, coal briquette or a combination of fuels. Concentrations of creatinine adjusted 2-hydroxy-fluorene, 3-hydroxy-fluorene, 1-hydroxy-fluorene, 2-hydroxy-phenanthrene and 4-hydroxy-phenanthrene were significantly higher (p<0.05) in women who used wood or kerosene alone compared with women who used liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), coal briquette or a combination of fuels. An increase in the concentrations of creatinine adjusted 9-hydroxy-fluorene, 1-hydroxy-phenanthrene, 2-hydroxy-phenanthrene, 4-hydroxy-phenanthrene and 1-hydroxy-pyrene in the third trimesters was also observed. Weak positive correlation (Spearman correlation coefficient, ρ<0.4; p<0.05) was observed between all first trimester creatinine adjusted OH-PAHs and indoor (kitchen and living room), and personal 48-h TWA PM₂.₅. Women who cooked exclusively with wood or kerosene had higher creatinine adjusted OH-PAH levels in their urine samples compared to women who cooked with LPG or coal briquette.