Identification and Toxicological Evaluation of Unsubstituted PAHs and Novel PAH Derivatives in Pavement Sealcoat Products

Environ Sci Technol Lett. 2016;3(6):234-242. Epub 2016 Apr 25.


Pavement sealcoat products contain high concentrations of unsubstituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), but the assessment of the potential toxicological impact is limited without the inclusion of PAH derivatives. This study determined the concentrations of 23 unsubstituted PAHs, 11 high molecular weight-PAHs (MW302-PAHs), and 56 PAH derivatives, including 10 methyl-PAHs (MPAHs), 10 heterocyclic-PAHs (Hetero-PAHs), 26 nitrated-PAHs (NPAHs), and 10 oxygenated-PAHs (OPAHs) in coal-tar and asphalt based sealcoat products and time point scrapes. Inclusion of MW302-PAHs resulted in an increase of 4.1-38.7% in calculated benzo[a]pyrene-carcinogenic equivalent (B[a]Peq) concentrations for the coal-tar based products. Increases in some NPAH and OPAH concentrations were measured after application, suggesting the possibility of photochemical transformation of unsubstituted PAHs. The Ames assay indicated that the asphalt based product was not mutagenic, but the coal-tar based sealcoat products were. The zebrafish developmental toxicity tests suggested that fractions where NPAHs and OPAHs eluted have the most significant adverse effects.