Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) - Sampling & Analysis

Airzones laboratory is accredited by CALA to provide certified PAH analysis for air samples using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can also be referred to as polyaromatic hydrocarbons or polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. PAHs are composed of two or more conjugated aromatic rings (benzene rings). PAHs can be hazardous to your health, for example Benzo(a)pyrene and its metabolites are mutagenic and highly carcinogenic, this compound is also listed as a Group 1 carcinogen by the IARC.

PAHs are naturally found in crude oil, tar, tar sands, coal and volcanoes. PAHs are created and released into the atmosphere as by-products during the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biomass such as wood, tobacco, gasoline and other products.

Lighter PAHs are considered semi-volatile organic compounds which exist in air in both gas and particulate phases. Air samples are usually collected using filters and polyurethane foam (PUF) sampling media, this media is sometimes augmented with XAD-2 resin. A typical target list of PAH is shown below.

  • Naphthalene
  • Acenaphthylene
  • Acenaphthene
  • Fluorene
  • Phenanthrene
  • Anthracene
  • Acridine
  • Fluoranthene
  • Pyrene
  • Benzo(c)phenanthrene
  • Benz(a)anthracene
  • Chrysene
  • 7,12-Dimethylbenz(a)anthracene
  • Benzo(b&j)fluoranthene
  • Benz(k)fluoranthene
  • Benzo(a)pyrene
  • 3-Methylcholanthrene
  • Indeno(123-cd)pyrene
  • Dibenz(a,h)anthracene
  • Benzo(ghi)perylene
  • Dibenzo(a,l)pyrene
  • Dibenzo(a,i)pyrene
  • Dibenzo(a,h)pyrene