Henry N. Berko
Western Australian Department of the Environmental Protection, October 1999
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are released into the atmosphere, as a complex mixture of compounds during incomplete combustion of organic matter. Although hundreds of PAHs have been identified in atmospheric particles, toxicological endpoint and/or exposure data are available for only 33 PAHs. They are widespread contaminants of the environment and a number of them are either known or suspected carcinogens. Information on the fate and behaviour of PAHs in the air environment in Australia has been collected on an ad hoc basis and is located in a range of different organisations in different states.
The objective of this project was to undertake a desktop study of the State of Knowledge of PAH concentrations in ambient air in Australia, and the sampling and analytical methods used. A comparison of sampling and analytical methods has been undertaken to provide information on the comparability of results from different jurisdictions.