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Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

What is B(a)P?

Benzo(a)pyrene (B(a)P) is a member of a class of compounds known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which generally occur as complex mixtures and not as single compounds. PAHs are primarily by-products of incomplete combustion. These combustion sources are numerous, including natural sources such as wildfires, industrial processes, transportation, energy production and use, food preparation, smoking tobacco, and disposal activities such a as open trash burning.

Why Are We Concerned About B(a)P

B(a)P along with other PAHs are suspected of causing cancer in humans. It is bioaccumulative, does not break down easily in our environment, and is subject to long range air transport.

What Harmful Effects Can B(a)P Have On Us?

How Are We Exposed To B(a)P?

Where Can B(a)P Be Found?

B(a)P has no specific uses. It is generated by various combustion sources and is also a component or contaminant of such materials as tar and asphalt.

Potential sources to our Environment:


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