Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a mixture of substances consisting of several hundred single compounds. Indicative parameter for the PAH compounds is benzopyrene (BaP). They are produced in the process of pyrolysis and are used in fields such as insecticides, stabilisers, cosmetic additives and plasticisers. Due to their low water solubility they are also suitable for use in sealing applications such as roofing felts, sealing coats, parquet adhesives and impregnating agents. 

Furthermore PAHs also occur as by-products in coking plants and former gas works (tar oils). Owing to their toxicity PAHs time and again cause substantial damage to the environment and severe contamination of the groundwater.

The intake of PAHs occurs primarily through inhalation of the contaminated ambient air but can also occur via the skin, the drinking water and the food. Some of the PAHs have been proven to be carcinogenic (e.g. cancer of the lungs, the skin, the larynx as well as stomach and colon cancer).

Depending on the level of contamination of the workplace, operations in the presence of PAHs may fall under the BGR 128 (German trade association rules for work in contaminated areas) and have to be carried out observing special rules.

Due to the classification of PAHs as  *hazardous waste* the disposal of substances containing PAHs has to be made via the agency for hazardous wastes “Sonderabfallbehörde Berlin Brandenburg” (SBB) and accounted for in detail via the electronic waste-records procedure (ENV).

Possible waste code numbers (AVV no.) are:

17 01 06*Mixed or separate fractions of concrete, bricks, tiles and ceramics containing hazardous substances.
17 03 01*Bituminous mixtures containing coal tar 
17 03 03*Products containing coal tar and tar
17 05 03*Soil and stones containing hazardous substances