Simultaneous determination of nicotine and PAH metabolites in human hair specimen: a potential methodology to assess tobacco smoke contribution in PAH exposure.

  • Human Biomonitoring Research Unit
  • Public Health Research
April 25, 2012 By:
  • Appenzeller BM
  • Mathon C
  • Schummer C
  • Alkerwi A
  • Lair ML.

The present methodology was developed to simultaneously assess chronic exposure to PAHs and to tobacco from the analysis of one hair specimen per examined individual. The method is a two step extraction of twelve mono-hydroxy-PAHs and of nicotine, and their separate analysis by optimized methods using gas chromatography-negative chemical ionization-mass spectrometry. After method validation and assessment of the hair decontamination procedure, 105 hair specimens from smokers and non-smokers were analyzed. All the hair samples tested positive for nicotine. Median concentration was 10.7ng/mg for smokers and 0.5ng/mg for non-smokers. 70% of the samples tested positive for OH-PAHs. The most common one was 2-naphthol (61%) and its concentration was significantly higher in smokers than in non-smokers (median: 111 vs 70pmol/g, p=0.006). 2-OH-benzo(c)phenanthrene and 6-OH-chrysene were only detected once in a non-smoker's hair. The concentration of the sum of all PAH-metabolites ranged from 24 to 67190pmol/g (median: 118pmol/g). Only six samples tested positive for more than two different metabolites. The simultaneous detection of nicotine and OH-PAHs in hair is possible and provides reliable results. This represents a useful tool for the accurate biomonitoring of chronic exposure to PAH and correct identification of the sources of exposure.

2012 Apr. Toxicol Lett.210(2):211-9. Epub 2011 Nov 30.
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