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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 1997 Feb;36(1):89-97.

Environmental quality objectives for 10 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

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  • 1Centre for Substances and Risk Assessment, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


Environmental quality objectives (EQOs) for water, soil, and sediment are derived for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). EQOs are an important instrument in the effects-oriented environmental policy of the Dutch Ministry of the Environment. These EQOs should be set in such a way that protection of organisms in all compartments is ensured. As intermedia transport of chemicals occurs, this means that EQOs derived for individual compartments have to be harmonized. EQOs are based on scientifically derived risk limits: maximum permissible concentrations (MPCs) and the negligible concentrations (NCs). MPCs are concentrations above which the risk of adverse effects is considered unacceptable. The NC is defined as the MPC/100 and takes possible effects of combination toxicity due to the presence of other substances into account. In this paper MPCs are derived for haphthalene, anthracene, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, benzo[a]anthracene, chrysene, benzo[k]fluoranthene, benzo[a]pyrene, benzo[ghi]perylene, and indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene. The MPCs for these PAHs are for water 1.2, 0.07, 0.30, 0.30, 0.01, 0.34, 0.04, 0.05, 0.03, and 0.04 micrograms/liter, respectively; for soil 0.14, 0.12, 0.51, 2.6, 0.25, 10.7, 2.4. 0.26, 7.5, and 5.9 mg/kg, respectively; and for sediment 0.14, 0.12, 0.51, 2.6. 0.36, 10.7, 2.4, 2.7, 7.5, and 5.9 mg/kg, respectively.

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