Sources, Levels and Carcinogenic Potential of Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons in the Environment: A Short Review

Bulbul Gupta, Sanjeev Puri, Jaspreet Kaur



Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are the organic compounds that constitute a class of aromatic hydrocarbons known to be cancer causing agents. In the recent years an increased attention towards their sources and levels in the environments has been observed, mainly because of the elevated levels of some highly carcinogenic or mutagenic PAHs. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized 16 PAHs (EPA-PAH) as priority pollutants. Eight from these 16 PAHs are typically considered as possible carcinogens viz. chrysene, benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, dibenzo(a,h)anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene (B(a)P), benzo(g,h,i)perylene and indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene. These are present in air, water, soil, sediments as well as in food samples where they are accumulating at an alarming rate. An increase in utilisation of fossil fuels and industrial activities over the period of time, further adds their levels in the ecosystem. Thus, it becomes important to identify their sources and carry out level assessments for remedial measures. Therefore main emphasis of this review will be on the various sources responsible for their release, their levels reported in the environment and the health effects associated with them.

 Keywords: Concentration, environment, level, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, pollutants

Cite this Article

Bulbul Gupta, Sanjeev Puri, Jaspreet Kaur. Sources, Levels and Carcinogenic Potential of Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons in the Environment: A Short Review. Research & Reviews: A Journal of Life Sciences. 2020; 10(1): 5–11p.


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