Development of a Raoult’s Law-Based Screening-Level Risk Assessment Methodology for Coal Tar and Its Application to Ten Tars Obtained from Former Manufactured Gas Plants in the Eastern United States


A Raoult’s law-based screening-level assessment methodology was developed to calculate the carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks from ingestion of coal tar-contaminated water and it was applied to ten coal tars obtained from sites in the eastern United States. This approach provides a simple risk screening based on the conservative assumptions of Tier 1 in both the ASTM RBCA methodology and the USEPA Soil Screening Guidance. Results across the ten tars exhibited similar patterns, even though the coal tars had significantly different chemical compositions, and in all cases the screening-level risks were above the USEPA thresholds. There was no appreciable difference in the total risks when using either the current USEPA 1993 PAH risk assessment guidance or the proposed 2010 guidance. Benzene, while present at low concentrations within the coal tars, posed the dominant risk and strong correlations were observed with the benzene mole fraction.

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D. Brown, "Development of a Raoult’s Law-Based Screening-Level Risk Assessment Methodology for Coal Tar and Its Application to Ten Tars Obtained from Former Manufactured Gas Plants in the Eastern United States," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 4 No. 6A, 2013, pp. 1-11. doi: 10.4236/jep.2013.46A001.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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