CYP1A2 regulation by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) exposure and polymorphism was investigated in 46 male volunteers from the Carboniferous Region in northern Coahuila, Mexico. PAH exposure was estimated by the urinary excretion of 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP), whereas the regulatory effects were assessed by the caffeine metabolic ratio (CMR). Genotype was evaluated by determining 5′-flanking region (-2964) and intron I (734) polymorphisms. A statistically significant difference in the urinary 1-OHP geometric means of Barroterán, Cloete and Juárez (2.30, 0.45 and 0.04, respectively) was observed. As for the genotype, the intron I distribution was 0% C/C, 46% C/A and 54% A/A, whereas that of the 5′-flanking region was 26% G/G, 42% G/A and 32% A/A. Both distributions were in agreement with the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium model. A greater enzyme activity was observed in the A/A compared to C/A individuals according to the CMR (P < 0.001), whereas the 5′-flanking region polymorphism showed no effect on CYP1A2 enzymatic activity. These results suggest that intron I polymorphism and PAH exposure are relevant factors that modulate CYP1A2 enzymatic activity. © 2004 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.