Australian work exposures study (AWES) - Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)


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The Australian Work Exposures Study (AWES) was a national survey conducted by the Western Australian Institute of Medical Research (WAIMR) in 2011–12 that investigated work-related exposures among Australian workers to 38 known or suspected carcinogens.

Some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are classified as a known or suspected human carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the work described in this report prepared by Elmatom Pty Ltd uses AWES data to:

  • estimate the prevalence of work-related exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons during relatively common workplace activities
  • identify the main circumstances of those exposures, and
  • identify the use of workplace control measures designed to decrease those exposures.

This report describes those exposures that occur when typical work activities are carried out by Australian workers—it does not specifically focus on industries suspected of high exposures to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

This report has been written to inform public debate and the development of work health and safety policy.

Supporting information

This Research Brief provides a summary of key findings from the report Australian Work Exposures Study (AWES): Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

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Hazardous chemicals
Research and studies
Hazard surveillance research
Hazardous chemicals