Carpets as resivoirs of PAH-lution

SCIENCE NEWS July 10, 1993 pg. 30 At the 6th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, held this week in Helsinki, Finland, John W. Roberts, a Seattle-based consulting engineer reported his team's analysis of data from a recent EPA study of eight homes in Columbus, Ohio. Dust vacuumed from carpets at each home contained detectable levels of seven potentially carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) &endash; including benzo(a)pyrene and benz(a)anthracene.

Benzo(a)pyrene and Benz(a)anthracene are products of natural gas combustion. California allows it's gas utilities to list these toxic waste products under "soot."

Though these combustion pollutants occur in trace amounts throughout the environment, in six of the studied homes PAH levels in carpets equaled or exceeded &endash; in some cases by up to 20-fold &endash; PAH levels in yard soil. At those homes, average carpet-dust PAH concentrations ranged from 1.3 to 12.1 parts per million (ppm). The other two homes were far more heavily polluted &endash; indoors and out. However, Roberts notes, total PAH levels inside even the less contaminated homes far exceeded the I ppm limit requiring cleanup of residential soil at hazardous waste sites in Washington state. (At present, there is no uniform federal limit for PAH contamination.)

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Does Roberts about Prof. Robert Carlson, of atmospheric sciences and chemistry, at the University of Washington, Seattle; and his work on atmospheric sulfur compounds.



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