Exposure to organic vapors occur on a daily basis to millions. Effects of exposure range from skin/eye irritation, nausea, vomiting, to toxicity of the nervous system, reproductive damage, liver and kidney damage, respiratory impairment, and cancer. The goal is to minimize or eliminate such exposure. It is important that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) be utilized when potential exposure exists. Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL’s) for various chemical compounds can be found by visiting https://www.osha.gov/dsg/annotated-pels/index.html
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are made whenever substances are burned, but are also a group of chemicals that occur naturally. Present in coal, crude oil, and gasoline; and also present in coal-tar pitch, creosote, and asphalt. Additionally, when coal is converted to natural gas, PAHs can be released. Therefore, some coal-gasification sites may have elevated levels of PAHs.
Exposure may lead to eye irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and confusion. Prolonged exposure may result in other disease including cancer.