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Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
How to Use This Course

Course: WB 1519
CE Original Date: July 1, 2009
CE Renewal Date: July 1, 2011
CE Expiration Date: July 1, 2013
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The goal of Case Studies in Environmental Medicine (CSEM) is to increase the primary care provider’s knowledge of hazardous substances in the environment and to help in evaluation and treating of potentially exposed patients. This CSEM focuses on the toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Available Versions

Two versions of the Toxicity of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons CSEM are available.


To make the most effective use of this course.

  • Take the Initial Check to assess your current knowledge about the toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
  • Read the title, learning objectives, text, and key points in each section.
  • Complete the progress check exercises at the end of each section and check your answers.
  • Complete and submit your assessment and posttest response online if you wish to obtain continuing education credit. Continuing education certificates can be printed immediately upon completion.

Instructional Format

This course is designed to help you learn efficiently. Topics are clearly labeled so that you can skip sections or quickly scan sections you are already familiar with. This labeling will also allow you to use this training material as a handy reference. To help you identify and absorb important content quickly, each section is structured as follows:

Section Element Purpose

Serves as a “focus question” that you should be able to answer after completing the section

Learning Objectives

Describes specific content addressed in each section and focuses your attention on important points


Provides the information you need to answer the focus question(s) and achieve the learning objectives

Key Points

Highlights important issues and helps you review

Progress Check

Enables you to test yourself to determine whether you have mastered the learning objectives


Provide feedback to ensure you understand the content and can locate information in the text

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the Toxicity of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) CSEM, you will be able to

Content Area Objectives


  • explain what PAHs are
  • describe the properties of PAHs
  • identify where PAHs are found

Exposure Pathways

  • identify routes of exposure to PAHs

Who is at Risk

  • identify the populations at high risk for exposure to PAHs

Standards and Regulations

  • describe the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s permissible exposure limit (PEL) for PAHs
  • describe the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PAHs in drinking water

Biological Fate

  • describe the biologic fate of PAHs in the body

Pathogenic Changes

  • describe how PAHs are believed to induce pathogenic changes

Health Effects

  • describe health effects associated with PAH exposure

Clinical Assessment

  • describe typical signs and symptoms of patients with acute PAH exposure
  • describe typical signs and symptoms of patients with chronic PAH exposure
  • describe  important elements of the exposure history
  • describe the focus of the physical examination
  • describe tests used to assist in evaluation of patients exposed to PAHs

Treatment and Management

  • identify strategies for managing patients with chronic PAH exposure

Patient Education and Counseling

  • describe care advice for the patient exposed to PAHs
Previous Section Next Section The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

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