ATSDR - Toxic Substances - Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
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Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)

CAS ID #: 83-32-9, 120-12-7

Affected Organ Systems: Dermal (Skin), Hepatic (Liver), Immunological (Immune System)

Cancer Effects: Reasonably Anticipated to be a Human Carcinogen

Chemical Classification: Hydrocarbons (contain hydrogen and carbon atoms)

Summary: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of over 100 different chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil and gas, garbage, or other organic substances like tobacco or charbroiled meat. PAHs are usually found as a mixture containing two or more of these compounds, such as soot.

Some PAHs are 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, but a few are used in medicines or to make dyes, plastics, and pesticides.

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