Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons as Contaminant in Environment and Effect to Human Body

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Suparat Watana
Supeecha Wittayalertpanya


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are hydrocarbon compounds which originated from the incomplete combustion or organic compounds during industrial and other human activities. The most important sources of PAHs are coal tars and derived product. A second source of PAHs is petroleum distillates. Roasted, grilled or smoked foods are also important source of PAHs. PAHs are present throughout the environment, human may be exposed to these substances at home, outside, or at the workplace. The distribution of PAHs in the environment depends on properties of each PAHs. In human, PAHs are absorbed and distributed to internal organs especially organs rich in adipose tissue which can contain high level of PAHs and metabolites. PAHs can be changed a multistep metabolic activation by specific enzymes which are bioactivated to reactive metabolites. The metabolites can bind covalently to DNA and subsequently initiate mutation and carcinogenesis which may cause harmful health effects. Industrial and technological countries have set regulations for health protection in high risk PAHs exposure by suggesting amount of each PAHs in human bodywhich will be harmful.

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