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Acta toxicológica argentina

On-line version ISSN 1851-3743


VARGAS, Maritza et al. Toxic equivalency factors of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHS) in Valencia, Venezuela. Acta toxicol. argent. [online]. 2013, vol.21, n.2, pp.69-77. ISSN 1851-3743.

The atmospheric particulate from urban areas contains mixtures of contaminants with different degrees of toxicity such as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) derived from emissions from incomplete combustion of various natural sources. PAHs can cause cancer, birth defects and nervous system disorders when they are absorbed either by inhalation or ingestion. The toxic equivalency factor (TEF) is a parameter that relates the toxicity of a compound with a reference component in order to evaluate the toxicity and risk of various substances. The benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) is the reference compound in the case of PAHs mixture. The aim of this study was to estimate the potential risk of exposure to PAHs in people of the study area through the TEF. Fourteen PAHs were extracted from particulate filters and analyzed by liquid chromatography- fluorescence detection. The concentration of PAHs was calculated. The total average concentration of PAHs in the particulate was 1.97 ng/m3. Then, the equivalent toxic concentration of each compound and the total mixture were calculated too according to the method proposed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The contribution of BaP was 2.54% in the total mixture of PAHs. The total equivalent toxic concentration was 0.08 ng/m3 in the air mixture. The toxic equivalent concentrations for each PAH and the total in the atmospheric particulate were not exceeding the value of 1 ng/m3 in BaP equivalent that is the level indicated in international regulations.

Keywords : PAHs; Toxicity equivalent factor; Risk; Atmospheric particulate.

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