Domestic Exposures to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in a Houston, Texas, Environmental Justice Neighborhood. Academic Article uri icon


  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a class of >100 chemicals that naturally occur in coal tar, crude oil, and gasoline and can be manufactured as part of dyes, plastics, and pesticides. PAHs are complex environmental toxicants and exposure to them have been linked to adverse health outcomes including cancer, as well as diseases of the skin, liver, and immune system. Residents of the environmental justice neighborhood of Manchester, located on Houston's East End, are disproportionally exposed to toxic pollutants from both industry and transportation infrastructure. Based on a longstanding community engagement partnership with the research team, neighborhood residents sought to better understand their domestic exposure to PAHs. Particulate wipes were used to collect dust from a marked area within the entryway of randomly selected homes to assess for the presence of PAHs. Nineteen of the 61 PAH analytes, including the Environmental Protection Administration's 16 priority PAHs and the subgroup of 7 probable human carcinogens, were found in the sampled homes. Residents of the Houston neighborhood of Manchester potentially have significant domestic exposure to PAHs from combustion sources. More research is needed to assess the source of the PAHs and to better understand the potential health impacts of these exposures.

published proceedings

  • Environ Justice

altmetric score

  • 8

author list (cited authors)

  • Sansom, G. T., Kirsch, K. R., Stone, K. W., McDonald, T. J., & Horney, J. A.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Sansom, Garett T||Kirsch, Katie R||Stone, Kahler W||McDonald, Thomas J||Horney, Jennifer A

publication date

  • January 2018