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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

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Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH’s) in Soil Located Near Fassnight Creek Meagan Nunn Shaina Dunn Megan Walcher Carl Hendrix Dan Dougherty December 3, 2012

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH’s) in Soil Located Near

Fassnight Creek

Meagan NunnShaina Dunn

Megan WalcherCarl Hendrix

Dan Dougherty

December 3, 2012

Background of PAH’sDefinition

Group of organic contaminants that form from the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons, such as coal and gasoline

A compound that is formed from two or more benzene rings

Why are PAHs a Concern? Most of the compounds are highly

carcinogenic at relatively low levels. They are relatively insoluble in water Toxic to aquatic life Several are suspected human

carcinogens Stay in the environment for a long period

of time All vary in behavior

Exposure Possibilities for PAH’s Breathing air contaminated by coal tar

or wild fires Eating foods that have been grilled Transportation (roads and fume exhaust) Smoking tobacco Open trash burning

Our Exposure Focus Coal tar sealants are used to seal

roadways and parking lots and believed to release PAHs into soil and ultimately waterways.

Possible PAH’s Nonpolar organic molecules that

comprise two or more benzene rings arranged in various configurations

The Goal of Our Study To determine if there are any PAHs

present in the soil near Fassnight Creek. This is strictly a qualitative study to determine whether or not any are present.

Method Collect 100 gram soil samples from 3

different locations along Fassnight Creek. Source: National and Bennet Control: Near Art Museum Fort and Linwood Parkview Christian Church

All samples are about 3 yards from runoff

Allow the samples to air dry for 48 hours

Method Continued… In the lab, remove any debris (leaves,

stones, roots, etc) Use a mortar and pestle to grind the soil

to a fine powder Store in plastic bottles

Method Continued… Take about 5g portions of the samples and

place the portions in beakers Add 50mL of a 50-50 mix of acetone+

hexane Cover with watch glass and put on hotplate

and simmer for 10-15 minutes Let cool and filter into flasks Add anhydrous sodium sulfate (about 5g) to

remove excess water Filter the solution again

Method Continued… Cook each sample down to about 2 mL

Future Studies Quantitative study determine the kinds

of PAHs present and the amount present

Thank You We would like to send out a special

thank you to Dr. Biagioni for helping us with the experiment and providing the lab area to do it.

Sources thetruthwins.com (Danger Sign Picture) http://


http://toxics.usgs.gov/definitions/pah.html maine.gov (Cigarette Picture) http://


spellboundlabs.co.za (Mortar and Pestle Picture)