Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons

ESG provides testing and analysis for Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other organic compounds, through its environmental chemistry specialist laboratories.

Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of organic compounds which have two or more benzene rings in their structure.

Most PAHs in the environment are from incomplete combustion of carbon containing materials such as oil, coal, gas etc. They are often absorbed onto particles of soot emitted from combustion sources. Some PAHs may cause cancer and genetic damage.

There are thousands of PAH compounds but the groups that are generally required in environmental testing are: US EPA 16 Priority PAHs:

  • Coronene is an additional PAH which is required when testing PAHs for Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) testing.
  • The "Oil 8" PAHs are required by the EA Guidance document "Interpretation of the classification of hazardous waste".These are: benz(a)anthracene, chrysene, benzo(b) benzo(k) & benzo(j)fluoranthene, benzo(a)pyrene, dibenzo(a,h) anthracene and indeno (1,2,3-c,d) pyrene.


PAHs are analysed by extracting the environmental sample with solvent and then analysis by Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS). The following chromatogram shows one of our PAH EPA 16 standard mixes.


Matrix PAHs Method MDL soil 16 or 17 PAHs with quantification of "Oil 8" if required Solvent extraction / GCMS 0.08 mg/kg waters 16 or 17 PAHs Solvent extraction / GCMS 10 ppt.


PAH testing and analysis is an important part of our environmental chemistry offering. To find out more about how our PAH testing can help your business minimize risk, call 0845 603 2112.