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Press Releases at EMSL

Category Press Release
Publish Date 10/13/2014
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Identifying Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Introduction EMSL Analytical offers testing services to identify polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from a diverse range of environmental samples.

Cinnaminson, NJ, October 13th, 2014

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil, gas, garbage or other organic substances like tobacco or charbroiled meat. PAHs are often found as a mixture containing two or more of these compounds.

Some PAHs are also manufactured. These pure PAHs usually exist as colorless, white or pale yellow-green solids. PAHs are found in coal tar, crude oil, creosote and roofing tar, and a few are also used in medicines or to make dyes, plastics and pesticides.  PAHs have been found in at least 600 of the 1,430 National Priorities List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Several years ago, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a report that found sealcoats used on driveways, playgrounds and parking lots made with coal tar and containing PAHs were causing significant levels of these chemical compounds to be found in household dusts.  The USGS study found levels of PAHs in apartment building dust that was 25 times higher than usual when a coal tar sealant was used in the parking lot as compared to other apartment buildings.   They also found that levels of PAHs from dust taken directly on the treated pavement had levels of PAHs 530 times higher than non-treated surfaces.

People can be exposed to PAHs in many ways, including:

  • Breathing air containing the chemicals in the workplace of coking, coal-tar, and asphalt production plants; smokehouses; and municipal trash incineration facilities.
  • Breathing air containing PAHs from cigarette smoke, wood smoke, vehicle exhausts, asphalt roads or agricultural burn smoke.
  • Coming in contact with air, water or soil near hazardous waste sites.
  • Eating grilled or charred meats; contaminated cereals, flour, bread, vegetables, fruits, meats; and processed or pickled foods.
  • Drinking contaminated water or milk.
  • Nursing infants of mothers living near hazardous waste sites may be exposed to PAHs through their mother's milk.

“The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that some PAHs may reasonably be expected to be carcinogens,” said Vincent M. Daliessio, CIH, Project Manager at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “At EMSL, we offer testing services for PAHs to identify both occupational exposure risks and potential contamination concerns that some people may face in and around their properties.”

EMSL recently sponsored a video about polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and exposure risks that can be seen at: http://youtu.be/gJInmG51Pyo.

To learn more about testing for PAHs or other indoor air quality, environmental, health and safety issues, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.


About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies. 

Ann Arbor, MI (LAB 08) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-4Atlanta, GA (LAB 07) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-1Baton Rouge, LA (LAB 25) - NVLAP Lab Code 200375-0Beltsville, MD (LAB 19) - NVLAP Lab Code 200293-0Boston, MA (LAB 13) - NVLAP Lab Code 101147-0Buffalo, NY (LAB 14) - NVLAP Lab Code 200056-0Carle Place, NY (LAB 06) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-10Charlotte, NC (LAB 41) - NVLAP Lab Code 200841-0Chicago, IL (LAB 26) - NVLAP Lab Code 200399-0Cinnaminson, NJ (LAB List in Description) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-0Dallas, TX (LAB 11) - NVLAP Lab Code 600111-0Denver, CO (LAB 22) - NVLAP Lab Code 200828-0EMSL Canada - Calgary, AB (LAB 65) - NVLAP Lab Code 500100-0EMSL Canada - Montreal, QC (LAB 68) - NVLAP Lab Code 201052-0EMSL Canada - Ottawa, ON (LAB 67) - NVLAP Lab Code 201040-0EMSL Canada - Toronto, ON (LAB 55) - NVLAP Lab Code 200877-0EMSL Canada - Vancouver, BC (LAB 69) - NVLAP Lab Code 201068-0Fort Lauderdale, FL (LAB 56) - NVLAP Lab Code 500085-0Houston, TX (LAB 15) - NVLAP Lab Code 102106-0Huntington Beach, CA (LAB 33) - NVLAP Lab Code 101384-0Indianapolis, IN (LAB 16) - NVLAP Lab Code 200188-0Inland Empire, CA (LAB 71) - NVLAP Lab Code 600239-0Jacksonville, FL (LAB 54) - NVLAP Lab Code 600265-0Kernersville, NC (LAB 02) - NVLAP Lab Code 102104-0Las Vegas, NV (LAB 31) - NVLAP Lab Code 600140-0Miami, FL (LAB 17) - NVLAP Lab Code 200204-0Minneapolis, MN (LAB 35) - NVLAP Lab Code 200019-0New York, NY (LAB 03) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-9Orlando, FL (LAB 34) - NVLAP Lab Code 101151-0Phoenix, AZ (LAB 12) - NVLAP Lab Code 200811-0Piscataway, NJ (LAB 05) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-2Plymouth Meeting, PA (LAB 18) - NVLAP Lab Code 200699-0Raleigh, NC (LAB 29) - NVLAP Lab Code 200671-0Rochester, NY (LAB 53) - NVLAP Lab Code 600183-0Salem, NH (LAB 23) - NVLAP Lab Code 201051-0San Diego, CA (LAB 43) - NVLAP Lab Code 200855-0San Leandro, CA (LAB 09) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-3Seattle, WA (LAB 51) - NVLAP Lab Code 200613-0South Pasadena, CA (LAB 32) - NVLAP Lab Code 200232-0South Portland, ME (LAB 62) - NVLAP Lab Code 500094-0St. Louis, MO (LAB 39) - NVLAP Lab Code 200742-0Tampa, FL (LAB 93) - NVLAP Lab Code 600215-0Wallingford, CT (LAB 24) - NVLAP Lab Code 200700-0West Palm Beach, FL (LAB 57) - NVLAP Lab Code 600206-0Weymouth, MA (LAB 64) - NVLAP Lab Code 600217-0
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