Residual oil fly ash is a chemically complex combustion product containing a significant component of potentially carcinogenic transition metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). Various biomarkers of PAH exposure have been investigated previously, most notably 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP), in urine. In this study, we assessed the utility of r-1,t-2,3,c-4-tetrahydroxy-1,2,3,4- tetrahydrophenanthrene (trans, anti-PheT), a metabolite of phenanthrene, to detect occupational PAH exposure. Urine samples collected across the workweek were analyzed for 1-OHP and trans, anti-PheT in boilermakers (n = 20) exposed to residual oil fly ash. Median baseline urinary trans, anti-PheT concentrations were 0.50 μg/g creatinine in current tobacco smokers and 0.39 μg/g creatinine in nonsmokers. Median baseline urinary 1-OHP concentrations in smokers and nonsmokers were 0.31 and 0.13 μgg/g creatinine, respectively. To study further the effect of smoking exposure on the urinary PAH markers, urinary cotinine was used. Although urinary trans, anti-PheT and 1-OHP concentrations were correlated (Spearman r = 0.63; P < 0.001) for all subjects, the regression coefficient between log-transformed trans, anti-PheT and log 1-OHP was statistically significant only for subjects with low levels of urinary cotinine or for nonsmokers. Each 1-unit increase in log 1-OHP was associated with a 0.77-unit increase (95% confidence interval, 0.45-1.09) in log trans, anti-PheT in subjects with low levels of urinary cotinine (P < 0.001). In these subjects, dichotomized occupational exposure status was a significant predictor of log trans, anti-PheT (P = 0.02) but not of log 1-OHP (P = 0.2). In conclusion, we found that urinary trans, anti-PheT was detected in levels comparable with 1-OHP in occupationally exposed workers, particularly nonsmokers. This study shows that urinary trans, anti-PheT may be an effective biomarker of uptake and metabolic activation of PAHs.