LQM is a specialist environmental consultancy based in Nottingham (UK) with an international reputation for assessing and managing the risks posed to human health and the environment by contaminants in soil. Increasingly this is being done within a context of sustainable development and specifically sustainable brownfield regeneration.

We provide consultancy, peer review and expert witness services, contract research and training courses on all aspects of the management of land contamination to problem holders, developers and local government.

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LQM launch new PAH Profiling Tool

Can you use an assessment criteria based on the surrogate marker approach to assess the PAHs at my site?

In 2010,  Health Protection England (HPA, now Public Health England) recommended the use of benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) as a surrogate marker approach in the assessment of carcinogenic risks posed by PAHs in soils and several generic assessment criteria have been derived based on this approach.  However, this approach is only applicable if the PAH profile in soils is sufficiently similar to that of coal tar.

The LQM PAH Profiling Tool is a simple to use spreadsheet (Note: Microsoft Excel is required to use the tool) that calculates the relative proportions of the eight genotoxic PAHs and plots them on the two charts relative to composition of the two coal mixtures used by Culp et al. (the plus/minus an order of magnitude limits suggested by HPA).  Simply paste in your PAH site data (EPA 16) to automatically generate two charts that indicate the suitability of the surrogate marker approach and identify which samples, if any, deviate significantly from coal tar.  To find out more and see a short video explanation – click here (you will be asked to register to view the recording).

Before using assessment criteria based on the surrogate marker approach (e.g. the S4UL for “Coal Tar (BaP as surrogate marker)” or the C4SL for “Benzo[a]pyrene”), these samples should be investigated and justify the reason for such apparent differences in composition. For example, they represent poorly transcribed data, issues to do with detection limits or laboratory anomalies. Alternatively, do they may indicate the presence of discrete hotspots or the presence of more than one source of PAHs at the Site.

A free trial version with limited functionality is available at http://www.lqm.co.uk/free/ (registration required).

The full version (including the inclusion of your company logo) is available for purchase at http://www.lqm.co.uk/publications/pahprofile/