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Cancer risk from incidental ingestion exposures to PAHs associated with coal-tar-sealed pavement

December 1, 2012

Recent (2009-10) studies documented significantly higher concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in settled house dust in living spaces and soil adjacent to parking lots sealed with coal-tar-based products. To date, no studies have examined the potential human health effects of PAHs from these products in dust and soil. Here we present the results of an analysis of potential cancer risk associated with incidental ingestion exposures to PAHs in settings near coal-tar-sealed pavement. Exposures to benzo[a]pyrene equivalents were characterized across five scenarios. The central tendency estimate of excess cancer risk resulting from lifetime exposures to soil and dust from nondietary ingestion in these settings exceeded 1 × 10–4, as determined using deterministic and probabilistic methods. Soil was the primary driver of risk, but according to probabilistic calculations, reasonable maximum exposure to affected house dust in the first 6 years of life was sufficient to generate an estimated excess lifetime cancer risk of 6 × 10–5. Our results indicate that the presence of coal-tar-based pavement sealants is associated with significant increases in estimated excess lifetime cancer risk for nearby residents. Much of this calculated excess risk arises from exposures to PAHs in early childhood (i.e., 0–6 years of age).

Citation Information

Publication Year 2012
Title Cancer risk from incidental ingestion exposures to PAHs associated with coal-tar-sealed pavement
DOI 10.1021/es303371t
Authors E. Spencer Williams, Barbara Mahler, Peter C. Van Metre
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Science & Technology
Index ID 70042684
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Texas Water Science Center