Toxic substances list: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are emitted into the Canadian environment from both natural and anthropogenic sources. Forest fires are the single most important natural source of PAHs in Canada. However, since releases from that source are generally widely separated in time and space across the country, they do not result in continuous exposure in any specific area. Anthropogenic sources are numerous and result in emissions of PAHs into all environmental compartments. The greatest anthropogenic sources of PAHs released to the atmosphere are residential wood heating and aluminum smelters. Major sources of PAHs to the aquatic and soil environments include creosote-treated products, spills of petroleum products, metallurgical and coking plants and deposition of atmospheric PAHs.

There is more than one CAS number that applies to this group of substances.

Risk assessment


This substance is entering the environment from the following sources:

Risk management tools

Tools developed to manage risks associated with the substance:


Other information


Substances Management Information Line
Chemicals Management Plan
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H3

Telephone: 1-800-567-1999  (in Canada) or 819-938-3232
Fax: 819-938-3231


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