17 August 2021
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous environmental organic contaminants generated by incomplete combustion of organic materials that are widely distributed in soils.
This study represents the first attempt to examine the health toxicity of 16 detected PAHs in contaminated soil, via different exposure pathways to populations in northwestern Algeria.
The toxicity equivalency quotients (TEQ) of PAHs were evaluated. The carcinogenic risk assessment of incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR) from ingestion, inhalation, and dermal exposure pathways to each PAH in soil are described.
Incremental lifetime cancer risk values were in the upper limit of the tolerable range (10 −6–10 −4) for adults and children. The total cancer risk of PAH-contaminated soils for children, adolescents and adults was 2.48×10 −5, 2.04×10 −5 and 3.12×10 −5mg.kg −1d −1, respectively. The highest potential cancer risks were identified for adults and children, with adolescents having the lowest risks. Across exposure pathways, the dermal contact and ingestion pathways had the greatest contributions to the carcinogenic risk of human exposure to PAHs.
Further research and guidelines are needed for risk assessments of PAHs in agricultural, residential/urban, and industrial areas, and further risk assessments should include risks posed by exposure through air.