Unmetabolized VOCs in urine as biomarkers of low level exposure in indoor environments

Bing Ling Wang, Tomoko Takigawa, Akito Takeuchi, Yukie Yamasaki, Hiroyuki Kataoka, Da Hong Wang, Keiki Ogino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to test the possible use of unmetabolized volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in urine as biomarkers of low-level indoor environmental exposure. Twenty-four subjects in 13 dwellings in a prefecture of Japan participated in this study. Air samples of the breathing zone were collected in the living room and bedroom, along with spot urine samples (before bedtime and first morning voids). Toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene isomers, styrene and p-dichlorobenzene in the air and urine samples were measured by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. For the 21 subjects without solvent exposure at work, there were significant correlations between the time-weighted average air concentrations in the bedroom and morning urinary concentrations for toluene, o-xylene, total xylene and p-dichlorobenzene (correlation coefficients of 0.54, 0.61, 0.56 and 0.84, respectively). Multiple linear regression analysis showed only air VOCs in the bedroom influenced the morning urinary VOC concentrations. We concluded that unmetabolized VOCs in the urine can provide a reliable biological indicator for air VOC exposures in non-occupational environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-110
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Occupational Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


  • Biological monitoring
  • Indoor environment
  • Toluene
  • Urine
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Xylene
  • p-dichlorobenzene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Unmetabolized VOCs in urine as biomarkers of low level exposure in indoor environments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this