Fluoranthene is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH). It exists as pale yellow needles or plates. Fluoranthene can be produced by the pyrolysis at high temperatures of organic raw materials such as coal and petroleum. It is also known to to be produced by certain plants. Fluoranthene is a constituent of coal tar and petroleum-derived asphalt. Currently, there is no known production or use of this compound.
Since it is a universal product of combustion of organic matter and is present in fossil fuel products, fluoranthene is generally released into air and water. In the atmosphere fluoranthene is present both as vapour and adsorbed to particles. As vapour it will be degraded rather rapidly, but it's more stable when adsorbed to particles and as such fluoranthene can travel large distances before being deposited. Fluoranthene has a low water solubility of 265 µg/l, and will rapidly be adsorbed to sediment and particulate matter. It disappears from the water column, by degradation and transport to the sediments. In the sediments however, it can be very stable for decades. Since it has a high tendency to adsorb to organic matter, it has a high potential towards bioaccumulation. It bioaccumulates in shellfish, making them an excellent bioindicator for fluoranthene pollution.
Concentrations in sediments of highly polluted areas can reach up to 400 µg/kg in the sediments.
Environmental standards and legislation
- The Risk Assessment Information System Toxicity Summary for FLUORANTHENE August 17 2009
- www.speclab.com August 17 2009
- Kennish, M. J. (1996): Practical Handbook of Estuarine and Marine Pollution, CRC Press 524 pp
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