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Industrial Hygiene Laboratory Testing

Category Press Release
Publish Date 7/17/2020
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Identifying Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Exposure Risks to Protect Residents of California and the Environment
Introduction LA Testing provides industrial hygiene and environmental testing services to identify polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other potential chemical exposure hazards.

Huntington Beach, CA, July 17th, 2020

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil, gas, garbage or other organic substances, like tobacco or charbroiled meat. In many situations, PAHs are found as a mixture containing two or more of these compounds.

Some PAHs are also manufactured for various uses. 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. Some are also used in medicines or to make dyes, plastics and pesticides.

Another exposure risk can be found with some types of sealcoats. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) found sealcoats used on driveways, playgrounds and parking lots made with coal tar and containing PAHs may cause significant levels of these chemical compounds to also be found in household dust. The USGS reported levels of PAHs in apartment building dust that were 25 times higher than usual when a coal tar sealant was used in the parking lot as compared to other apartment buildings. The agency also found that levels of PAHs from dust taken directly on the treated pavement had levels of PAHs 530 times higher than non-treated surfaces.

There are also many other ways people can be exposed to PAHs, including:

  • Breathing air containing the chemicals in the workplace of coking, coal-tar and asphalt production plants; smokehouses; and municipal trash incineration facilities.
  • Breathing air containing PAHs from cigarette smoke, wood smoke, vehicle exhausts, asphalt roads or agricultural burn smoke.
  • Coming in contact with air, water or soil near hazardous waste sites.
  • Eating grilled or charred meats; contaminated cereals, flour, bread, vegetables, fruits, meats; and processed or pickled foods.
  • Drinking contaminated water or milk.

“PAHs have been found at hundreds of National Priorities List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports that some PAHs may reasonably be expected to be carcinogens,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “At LA Testing, and through our network of affiliated laboratories, we offer PAH testing that can help to identify environmental exposure risks.”

LA Testing has also sponsored a video about PAHs and exposure risks that can be seen at:

To learn more about this or other industrial hygiene, environmental, health and safety testing services, please visit, email or call (800) 755-1794.


About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: : AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro, San Diego and Ontario.

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