Benzo(a)pyrene

Definition

Benzo(a)pyrene [B(a)P] is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) having five aromatic rings in a fused, honeycomb-like structure. Its formula and molecular weight are C20H12 and 252.30, respectively.

Description

It is a naturally occurring and man made organic compound formed along with other PAH in incomplete combustion reactions, including the burning of fossil fuels, motor vehicle exhaust, wood products, and cigarettes.

Effects on public health

It is classified as a known human carcinogen by the EPA and is considered to be one of the primary carcinogens in tobacco smoke. First synthesized in 1933, it was the first carcinogen isolated from coal tar and often serves as a surrogate compound for modeling PAHs.

  This information is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional care.