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POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS (PAH)


November, 1998

The SRMT Environment Division has been sampling for PAHs associated with emissions from Reynolds Metals Company. PAHs are a subset of Polycyclic Organic Matter (POM) and many are considered carcinogenic. PAHs are organic structures having two or more fused aromatic rings and contain carbon and hydrogen as constituents.

Table 1. PAHs Found in Air on the St. Regis Mohawk Reserve.
PAHEPA Classification
Benz(a)anthraceneSuspected human carcinogen
Benzo(a)pyreneSuspected human carcinogen
BenzofluoranthenesSuspected human carcinogens
ChryseneSuspected human carcinogen
Dibenz(a,h)anthraceneSuspected human carcinogen
Indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyreneSuspected human carcinogen

A suspected human carcinogen is defined as carcinogenic in experimental animals at dose levels, by routes of administration, at sites of histologic types or by mechanisms that are considered relevant to worker exposure. Available epidemiologic studies are conflicting or insufficient to confirm an increased risk of cancer in exposed humans.

Galson Consulting analyzed 1994-95 wind and pollution data collected from the Environment Office. In a letter to Les Benedict, Galson wrote, "Site 1 indicates the highest concentrations when the wind is coming from the west-southwest...Site 2 had the highest concentrations when the wind was coming from the west, with the second highest concentrations coming from the northwest." Galson Consulting continued by saying that additional sampling would be worthwhile and recommended making sure that the number of samples taken when the sites are down wind and upwind of Reynolds be the same.

Our limited database does not indicate a general impact from an airshed transport of PAH into the region as this effect would have been indicated as similar pollution roses for all sites. Without a larger database, this cannot be conclusive.

In a proposed workplan for a "Risk Assessment of Future Air Emissions From the St. Lawrence Aluminum Reduction Plant in Massena, NY," Reynolds plans to look at the health risks of future emissions of PAHs. To date the Tribe, NYS DEC, NYS DOH and Reynolds are working towards a more complete risk assessment workplan which will satisfy all parties.

Currently the Environment Division is continuing monitoring activities for PAH. One upwind site is located at the Massena International Airport and one downwind site at Loran Thompson's. The air sampler shown below consists of an aluminum housing, motor, timer and PAH collection module.

The motor draws air in through the top of the shelter, and through the PAH collection module. Inside the module is a glass fiber filter and special resin to collect any PAHs that may be in the air. The filtered air then passes through the exhaust hose back into the atmosphere. Collection modules are then sent to an independent laboratory.

PAH data, once received, is correlated with local wind data to determine which direction the emissions are coming from. Currently, there's insufficient data to confidently name the source of the pollution.



Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Environment Division
http://www.srmtenv.org/index.php?spec=pah