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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 13, 2022

Children’s exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs): a review on urinary 1-hydroxypyrene and associated health effects

  • Nur Hazirah Hisamuddin and Juliana Jalaludin EMAIL logo


This article reviewed the published studies on the environmental exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) among children and assessed the urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) level as a biomarker of exposure to PAHs. The current knowledge of the potential health effects of increased 1-OHP in children was reviewed. Additionally, the influence of genetic polymorphism on the urinary 1-OHP level was discussed in this review. The assembled data showed that children who are attending schools or living close to industrial and polluted urban areas might have greater exposure to higher concentrations of PAHs with a higher level of urinary 1-OHP when compared to those children living in rural areas. Urinary 1-OHP may be a reliable biomarker for determining the genotoxic effects, oxidative stress and inflammation caused by exposure to PAHs. Strong research evidence indicated that the total body burden of PAHs should be evaluated by biomonitoring of 1-OHP in line with other urinary PAHs metabolites (with 2–3 rings) to evaluate recent total exposure to PAHs. Overall, the study suggests implementing a mitigation plan to combat air pollution to provide a cleaner environment for children.

Corresponding author: Juliana Jalaludin, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia; and Department of Occupational Health and Safety, Faculty of Public Health, Airlangga University, 60115 Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Phone: +60 397692396, E-mail:

Award Identifier / Grant number: Impact Putra Grant (UPM/800-3/3/1/GPB/2018/9659700


NHH would like to acknowledge the scholarship provided by the Universiti Putra Malaysia (Graduate Research Fellowship).

  1. Research funding: This project has received funding from Universiti Putra Malaysia grant under Impact Putra Grant (Project Code: UPM/800-3/3/1/GPB/2018/9659700).

  2. Author contributions: Conceptualization and design of work, JJ and NHH; interpretation of data for the work, JJ and NHH; drafting the work—original draft preparation, NHH; revising for important intellectual content, JJ; final approval of the version to be published, JJ and NHH. All authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  3. Competing interests: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Informed consent is not applicable.

  5. Ethical approval: The review is not related to either human or animal use.


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Received: 2021-01-25
Accepted: 2021-12-24
Published Online: 2022-01-13
Published in Print: 2023-03-28

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