The study describes the determination of mono-hydroxylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (OH-PAHs), metabolites of PAHs, in human hair. Twelve selected OH-PAHs from two to four rings, generally determined in urine analysis, were investigated as markers of human exposure to PAHs. Following hydrolysis of hair specimens of 50-300 mg with 1 M NaOH, OH-PAHs were extracted using dichloromethane and submitted to an optimized derivatization with (2S,4R)-N-heptafluorobutyryl-4-heptafluorobutoyloxy-prolyl chloride. Compounds were then analyzed using gas chromatography-negative chemical ionization mass spectrometry (GC-NCIMS). The average inter-day and intra-day variability was 12% and 17%, respectively. The average recovery was 52% and the limits of detection and quantification ranged from 20 and 66 pmol/g for 1-OH-phenanthrene (i.e., 3.9 and 12.8 pg/mg) to 311 and 1030 pmol/g for 2-OH-benzo(c)phenanthrene (i.e., 75.9 and 251 pg/mg). The influence of hair washing with water as decontamination step, and enzymatic treatment (β-glucuronidase) to hydrolyze conjugated derivatives were also tested. The application of the developed method to the analysis of 30 hair specimens (17 from non-smoker and 13 from smoker volunteers) demonstrated inter-individual qualitative and quantitative variations. According to the easiness of hair sampling and based on the extended detection windows provided by hair analysis, this method is proposed as a new promising tool for the assessment of human chronic exposure to PAHs.
- Human biomonitoring
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons