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Urban Lakes and Streams Contaminated with PAH from Sealcoat



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Wading through the sources of lake contamination

Contamination of urban lakes and streams by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is widespread and has been increasing over the last 40 years in the United States.
PAHs are Toxic to Fish Humans and Other Organisms

These PAHs can be toxic to bottom-dwelling organisms, can cause tumors in fish, and several are believed to cause cancer in humans. 

In this study, researchers examined five sources of PAHs in 40 urban lakes from across the United States, including coal-tar-based pavement sealcoat, coal combustion, oil combustion, vehicle emissions and wood combustion.

Sealcoat Contributes to PAH Contamination

Of the five sources studied, sealcoat was the strongest contributor to PAH contamination in lake sediment. This research can help those trying to reduce pollution levels in the urban environment by providing them with a better understanding of PAH sources. 

This study, "Sources of PAHs to urban lakes in the United States," was conducted by USGS at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemist  


Edited by Carolyn Allen, Managing Editor of Solutions For Green

Publication Date: 11/24/2009
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