Diesel exhaust exposure biomarker found

July 31, 2007

A Japanese-U.S. science team has created the first test to detect a biomarker for human exposure to diesel exhaust, a probable human carcinogen.

The researchers, led by Akira Toriba of Japan's Kanazawa University, said the new test should be useful for monitoring human exposure to diesel exhaust and in studies of potential cancer risks associated with such exposure.

Past research, the scientists said, predicted certain metabolites -- compounds formed in the bodies of people exposed to diesel exhaust -- should appear in the victims' urine. One such compound is known by the acronym 1-NP and its metabolites are OHNAAPs and OHNPs.

"This is the first study to demonstrate that the 1-NP metabolites, OHNAAPs and OHNPs, are excreted in the urine of human subjects exposed to environmental levels of 1-NP," the researchers said. "These findings suggest that urinary 1-NP metabolites may be used as a representative biomarker for assessing exposure to diesel exhaust."

The discovery is reported in the July 16 issue of the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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