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Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) include a wide range of chemicals (about 500) with two or more condensed benzene rings. Due to their low volatility, they are not considered VOCs with some exceptions (naphthalene) and are classified as semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs). PAH consisting of three to five rings can occur in the atmosphere both as gases and particles, while those characterized by five or more rings occur mainly in solid form. They are characterized by their low water solubility, their capacity to adhere to organic matter and their good solubility in lipids and many organic solvents. Several PAHs were classified as “probable” or “possible carcinogens to humans” by IARC (1987), while benzo(a)pyrene was recently (2008) reclassified as “carcinogenic to humans” in category 1. Commonly found in environmental matrices include benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(b)fluoranthene,

benzo(k)fluoranthene, indeno(1,2,3-c,d)pyrene, benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(j)fluoranthene and dibenzo(a,h)anthracene, chrysene.

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