The impact of pollution on children's health has been increasingly pointed out in numerous studies which emphasized their increased vulnerability compared to adults. This pilot study investigated the relevance of hair analysis for the assessment of children exposure to pollution and to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). The methodology based on GC–MS/MS and LC-MS/MS, is the first one to investigate simultaneously parent PAH (n = 15), PAH metabolites (n = 56), nicotine and cotinine in a biological matrix. The method was applied to hair samples collected from 25 children, aged from 2 to 11 years, living in Paris, France, selected as densely populated area with urban pollution including vehicle exhausts, and Yeu Island, a French island in the Atlantic ocean, selected as control area with low population density and no fuel powered vehicles. Nicotine and cotinine were detected in all the samples at concentrations up to 2275 pg/mg and 110 pg/mg respectively, suggesting exposure to ETS in the two areas. 10 parent PAH and 10 metabolites were detected in 100% and in >90% of the samples respectively. Eight of these biomarkers presented a significantly higher concentration in children from Paris than from Yeu Island. The results suggest association between PAH exposure and estimated time of exposure to vehicle exhaust as well as higher exposure to both PAH and ETS in the youngest children. Although these findings need to be confirmed on wider populations, the results obtained in this pilot study strongly support the relevance of hair analysis for the biomonitoring of children exposure to urban pollution and ETS.
- Children exposure
- Environmental tobacco smoke
- Hair analysis
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons