A number of chemicals, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), have been shown to bind to DNA. This DNA damage can occur both early and late in the malignant process, thereby acting as an initiator and assisting in the progression of tumors. PAHs are released into the environment following incomplete combustion of organic materials. The most common sources of PAHs are from smoking and from consuming broiled or grilled foods. Human exposure to PAHs comes from various occupational, environmental, dietary and medicinal sources. Benzo[a]pyrene is a representitive PAH. Antibodies to benzo[a]pyrenediol-epoxide modified DNA (BPDE-DNA) can be used to identify polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-DNA adducts. Exposure to this group of compounds is believed to be carcinogenic. The monoclonal antibody 8E11 recognizes free BPDE and DNA adducts.