Assessing indoor air exposures using passive sampling with bioanalytical methods for estrogenicity and aryl hydrocarbon receptor activity

Karen Kennedy, Miroslava MacOva, Frederic Leusch, Michael E. Bartkow, Darryl W. Hawker, Bin Zhao, Michael S. Denison, Jochen F. Mueller

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12 Scopus citations


Passive air sampling was undertaken using polyurethane foam passive air samplers at three types of locations, including indoors (six offices) at buildings in the central business district (CBD) and at a private suburban home (indoor and outdoor) located 9 km from the CBD in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Estrogenic (E-SCREEN-MCF7-BOS) and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) (CAFLUX-H4G1.1c2) activity were assessed for samples collected from each of these locations. The samples were tested either as crude extracts ("untreated") or were subjected to H2SO4 silica gel ("treated") for each location in order to determine whether chemicals, which are not resistant to this treatment like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, potentially account for the observed activity. In most cases, H2SO4 treatment resulted in a statistically significant reduction of potency for both endpoints, suggesting that chemicals less resistant to treatment may be responsible for much of the detected biological activity in these locations. Estrogenic potency measurements (<0.22-185 pg m-3) were highest in the indoor offices, followed by the indoor suburban home and finally the outdoor suburban home (which was not estrogenic). Total AhR activity for crude extracts (1.3-10 pg m-3) however was highest for the outdoor suburban home site. Levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were monitored indoors and outdoors at the suburban home. At that location, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon air concentrations were on average approximately two times higher outdoor than indoor, while AhR potency was five times higher outdoor than indoor. No significant correlation was found between the estrogenic and AhR activity (P=0.88) for the sites in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1413-1421
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Aryl hydrocarbon receptor activity
  • Bioanalytical methods
  • Estrogenicity
  • Indoor air
  • Passive air sampling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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