Exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons has increased over the years with the increase in industrialization. PAHs refer to chemicals that form through incomplete combustion of coal, oil and gas (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ATSDR 1). They also occur when organic substances such as garbage that fail to burn completely. Incomplete combustion results in the release of 100 different chemicals that mix to form PAHs. These hydrocarbons are found in crude oil, roofing tar, coal and creosote (Mah et al. 23). The chart below illustrates how a person can be exposed to PAHs in a 24-hour weekday.
Studies have confirmed that exposure to PAHs can cause harms effects on the skin and body fluids (Banks et al. 7). In some cases, exposure to PAHs has resulted in birth defects and low body weights. The department of health and human services found out that some PAHs cause cancer (Jerina et al. 176). In this regard, people who have inhaled or touched some mixtures of these hydrocarbons have developed cancer. Klepeis observed that the change of activities by people during a 24-hour day lead to increased chances of exposure (373). The exposure levels may increase or decrease depending on the nearness to PAH-producing substances. This work has broadened my understanding of PAHs as well as its limitations. Although some PAHs are manufactured, other PAHs are harmful to human and animal health.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Polycyclic Aromatic
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