A cross-sectional epidemiological study was performed on 286 workers from two coke oven and one graphite electrode plants. The aim was to evaluate the usefulness of monitoring 1-hydroxypyrene (1-HOP) in urine for assessing exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and that of the urinary excretion of thioethers and D-glucaric acid, and the mutagenic activity of urine as indicators or biological effects of PAHs. The results confirm that 1-HOP determination in urine probably reflects exposure to PAHs by all routes and is not significantly influenced by the smoking habit. In comparison with the total PAHs in the air and 1-hydroxypyrene in urine, taken as reference exposure parameters, the results indicate that urinary D-glucaric acid excretion is not positively influenced by PAHs exposure; thioethers determination in urine is of poor value, since the smoking habit is a strong confounding factor. The determination of urinary mutagenicity might contribute to the detection of groups of workers exposed to potentially genotoxic PAHs.