(HealthDay News) – There is a significantly increased lifetime risk of cancer for individuals exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) associated with coal-tar-sealed pavement, according to a study published in the Jan. 15 issue of Environmental Science & Technology.

E. Spencer Williams, PhD, from Baylor University in Waco, TX, and colleagues analyzed the potential cancer risk associated with incidental ingestion exposures to PAHs in settings near coal-tar-sealed pavement through characterizing exposures to benzo[α]pyrene equivalents in five scenarios.

The researchers found that, based on deterministic and probabilistic methods, the central tendency estimate of excess cancer risk resulting from lifetime exposures to soil and dust from nondietary ingestion exceeded 1×10−4, with soil found to be the primary driver of risk. Reasonable maximum exposure to affected house dust in the first six years of life was adequate to generate an estimated excess lifetime cancer risk of 6×10−5, based on probabilistic calculations.

“Our results indicate that the presence of coal-tar-based pavement sealants is associated with significant increases in estimated excess lifetime cancer risk for nearby residents,” write the authors.

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