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Environ Geochem Health. 2015 Jun;37(3):587-601. doi: 10.1007/s10653-014-9675-7. Epub 2015 Jan 9.

Multi-pathway assessment of human health risk posed by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

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Key Laboratory of Environmental Engineering, Jiangsu Academy of Environmental Science, Nanjing, 210036, China,


To assess aggregate exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) via several environmental media and pathways, a probabilistic framework for multi-pathway health risk assessment that integrates PAHs potency equivalence factors, risk estimation modeling, and Monte Carlo simulation was applied to a case study in Nanjing, which is an important industrial city in China. Incremental lifetime risk of additional cancers posed by exposure to 16 USEPA priority PAHs in air, water, soil, and fish was assessed. Risks to three age groups, infants, children, and adults, through various exposure pathways, including oral ingestion, dermal absorption, and inhalation, were estimated. Results of the analysis of risk indicated that B[a]P, B[b]F, and BA were the predominant PAHs pollutants in Nanjing. Risk of additional cancer for local adults was on average 2.62 × 10(-5). The risks were primarily due to ingestion of fish and inhalation, which contributed 99 % of the total risks. By contrast, risk to infants was essentially negligible. Results of a sensitivity analysis indicated that the input variables of concentration of PAHs in fish (C f), the body weight (BW), and the ingestion rate of fish (IRf) were the major influences on estimates of risks.

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