Spatial Distribution of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Contaminants after Hurricane Harvey in a Houston Neighborhood. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the Texas Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane on August 25, 2017, producing unprecedented precipitation that devastated coastal areas. Catastrophic flooding in the City of Houston inundated industrial and residential properties resulting in the displacement and transfer of soil, sediment, and debris and heightening existing environmental justice (EJ) concerns. OBJECTIVES: The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the presence, distribution, and potential human health implications of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in a residential neighborhood of Houston, Texas following a major hurricane. METHODS: Concentrations of PAHs in 40 soil samples collected from a residential neighborhood in Houston, Texas were measured. Spatial interpolation was applied to determine the distribution of PAHs. Potential human health risks were evaluated by calculating toxicity equivalency quotients (TEQs) and incremental excess lifetime cancer risk (IELCR). RESULTS: Total priority PAH concentrations varied across samples (range: 9.7 101 ng/g-1.6 104 ng/g; mean: 3.0 103 ng/g 3.6 103 standard deviation). Spatial analysis indicated a variable distribution of PAH constituents and concentrations. The IELCR analysis indicated that nine of the 40 samples were above minimum standards. CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this study highlight the need for fine scale soil testing in residential areas as well as the importance of site-specific risk assessment. COMPETING INTERESTS: The authors declare no competing financial interests.

published proceedings

  • J Health Pollut

altmetric score

  • 53.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Sansom, G. T., Kirsch, K. R., Casillas, G. A., Camargo, K., Wade, T. L., Knap, A. H., Baker, E. S., & Horney, J. A.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Sansom, Garett T||Kirsch, Katie R||Casillas, Gaston A||Camargo, Krisa||Wade, Terry L||Knap, Anthony H||Baker, Erin S||Horney, Jennifer A

publication date

  • January 2021