Study Reveals New Cancer Risk from IAQ Pollutants in Household Dust
EMSL Analytical provides testing services to detect dangerous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in homes and offices.
According to a new government report, commonly used pavement sealers containing cancer-causing substances are showing up in household dust. The report comes from research that was conducted in Austin, Texas by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Sealcoats used on driveways, playgrounds and parking lots made with coal tar appear to be the major culprit. According to the USGS report, “Coal tar is a byproduct of the coking of coal, and can contain 50 percent or more PAHs by weight. Coal-tar-based pavement sealants therefore have very high levels of PAHs compared to other PAH sources (e.g., soot, vehicle emissions, used motor oil).”
Coal tar sealcoats are one of two commonly used sealcoats found across the United States. As it degrades and wears off, small particles of the material can be blown or tracked into homes. The USGS study found levels of PAHs in apartment building dust that was 25 times higher than usual when a coal tar sealant was used in the parking lot as compared to other apartment buildings. They 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.
According to the report, “In the past, several factors have been thought to affect PAH concentrations in house dust, including tobacco smoking and frequency of vacuuming. Researchers have had little success, however, demonstrating a relation between any of those factors and PAH concentrations.”
EMSL Analytical, one of the nation’s largest environmental laboratories, has a long history of providing environmental and indoor air quality testing for PAHs. “The USGS report is eye opening and should be considered by environmental professionals and the general public,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President at EMSL. “Some of these chemicals are known carcinogens and exposure should be minimized.”
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of quality environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.
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- Joe Frasca
- Senior Vice President, Marketing
- EMSL Analytical, Inc.
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