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Biochar production increases the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon content in surrounding soils and potential cancer risk

TitleBiochar production increases the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon content in surrounding soils and potential cancer risk
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsKusmierz, Marcin, and Oleszczuk Patryk
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Abstract

The objectives of the study were the identification of the source of contamination of soils and estimation of the potential cancer risk that may be caused by contact with soils situated in the vicinity of biochar production sites. Samples of soils collected in the immediate vicinity of traditional biochar-producing plants, located within the area of the Bieszczady National Park (Poland), were analysed for the content of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The sum of the content of 16 PAHs varied within the range of 1.80–101.3 µg/g, exceeding the norms permitted in many European countries. The calculated coefficients on the basis of which one can determine the origin of PAHs (molecular diagnostic ratios) demonstrated that the potential source of PAHs in the soils may be processes related with the production of biochar. Estimation on the basis of the results of incremental lifetime cancer risks (ILCRs) within the range of 2.33?·?10-4–1.05?·?10-1 indicated that the soils studied may constitute a significant cancer risk for persons who have contact with them. The values of ILCRS should be considered as at least high, which permits the conclusion that sites of that type may create a hazard to human health.