Evaluation of urinary biomarkers of exposure to benzene: Correlation with blood benzene and influence of confounding factors

Perrine Hoet, Dominique Lison, Vincent Haufroid, Erika De Smedt, Peter De Wilde, Massimo Ferrari, Marcello Imbriani, Luciano Maestri, Sara Negri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: trans,trans-Muconic acid (t,t- MA) is generally considered as a useful biomarker of exposure to benzene. However, because of its lack of specificity, concerns about its value at low level of exposure have recently been raised. The aim of this study was (a) to compare t,t-MA, S-phenylmercapturic acid (SPMA) and benzene (B-U) as urinary biomarkers of exposure to low levels of benzene in petrochemical workers and, (b) to evaluate the influence of sorbic acid (SA) and genetic polymorphisms of biotransformation enzymes on the excretion of these biomarkers. Method: A total of 110 workers (including 24 smokers; 2-10 cigarettes/ day) accepted to take part in the study. To assess external exposure to benzene, air samples were collected during the whole working period by a passive sampling device attached close to the breathing zone of 98 workers. Benzene was measured in blood (B-B) samples taken at the end of the shift, and was considered as the reference marker of internal dose. Urine was collected at the end of the shift for the determination of B-U, SPMA, t,t-MA, SA and creatinine (cr). B-U and B-B were determined by head-space/GC-MS, SPMA and SA by LC-MS, t,t-MA by HPLC-UV. Results: Most (89%) personal measurements of airborne benzene were below the limit of detection (0.1 ppm); B-B ranged from

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-995
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Benzene
  • Biological monitoring
  • S-Phenylmercapturic acid
  • Sorbic acid
  • t,t-Muconic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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