Date: 02 Aug 2011

(2-Methoxyethoxy)acetic acid: a urinary biomarker of exposure for jet fuel JP-8

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To demonstrate the utility of the urinary metabolite (2-methoxyethoxy)acetic acid (MEAA) as a biomarker of exposure. 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethanol [diethylene glycol monomethyl ether] is an anti-icing agent used in the formulation of JP-8, and it is added at a known uniform 0.1% (v/v) concentration to each batch lot. JP-8 is a kerosene-based fuel containing different compounds that vary in the content of every batch/lot of fuel; thus, MEAA has the potential to be a more specific and a consistent quantitative biomarker for JP-8 exposure.


MEAA was used to measure exposure of jet propulsion fuel 8 (JP-8) in United States Air Force (USAF) personnel working at six airbases within the United States. Post-shift urine specimens from various personnel including high (n = 98), moderate (n = 38), and low (n = 61) exposure workgroup categories were collected and analyzed by a gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric test method. The three exposure groups were evaluated for the number per group positive for MEAA, and a statistical analysis consisted of pair-wise t-tests for unequal variances was used to test for the differences in mean MEAA concentrations between the exposure groups.


The number of samples detected as positive for MEAA exposure, that is, those above the test method’s limit of detection (LOD = 0.1 μg/ml), were 92 (93.9%), 13 (34.2%), and 2 (3.3%) for the high, moderate, and low exposure workgroup categories, respectively. The mean urinary MEAA level was significantly greater in the high exposure category (6.8 μg/ml), compared to the moderate (0.42 μg/ml) and the low (0.07 μg/ml) exposure categories. The maximum concentration of urinary MEAA was 110 μg/ml for the high exposure category, while 4.8 μg/ml and 0.2 μg/ml maximum levels were found in the moderate and low exposure categories, respectively.


This study demonstrated that urinary MEAA can be used as an accurate biomarker of exposure for JP-8 workers and clearly distinguished the differences in JP-8 exposure by workgroup category.


The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Mention of company names and/or products does not constitute an endorsement by NIOSH.