Toxno Substance Profile
Evidence-based data. We have more than 25,000 profiles on Toxno.
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Substance Name

Benzo[a]pyrene
Identification Number: CASRN | 50-32-8

  Substance Attributes


  • Known Human Carcinogen

    This is a serious nasty substance. Exposure to this substance leads to cancer in Humans. Exercise extreme caution with this substance, explore your exposure routes and very seriously consider complete avoidance. See further details under Toxins.

  • Carcinogenic Properties

    Accumulating evidence points to cancer potential. Exercise caution with this substance, explore your exposure routes and consider complete avoidance. See further details under Toxins.

  • Endocrine Disrupter

    Interferes with your hormones. Hormones are powerful messengers that can bind to DNA. You don't want to mess with them.

  • Mutagenic Properties

    Cause mutations to Genetic material like DNA, RNA or mitochondrial DNA

  • Birth/Developmental

    Known to effect development of fetus.

  • Metabolic Interference or Disruption

    Interferes with human metabolism. This can be a very serious thing. Some of these interference mechanics are well established. However, often long term effects and health consequences remain largely unknown. Additionally an emerging area of concern and one that is not currently studied, is the combined synergistic effects these metabolically disrupting chemicals have on human health.


    Metabolic interference happens when the substance produces highly reactive and often damaging intermediates during detoxification or when the substance binds to specific enzymes, important structural groups on molecules, receptors and membranes or targets DNA or mimics key nutrients.

  • Exposure Produces Health Symptoms

    Symptoms maybe short term or long term depending on the exposure duration and intensity and effects areas like Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Cognition, Fatigue. A substance with this attribute may cause an allergic skin reaction, serious eye irritation, allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.

  • Toxic to specific organs

    Can damage liver, kidney, lungs, heart or gut. Ironically liver, kidneys and gut are the main detoxifications systems.

  • Toxic to Wildlife

    May kill plants, fish, birds or other animals and insects or may be very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects. This then effects delicate environmental ecology and food supply in ways we don't fully understand yet.

  • Volatile - Evaporates easily

    This substance easily enters the air we breath. Not really a nastiness attribute, but this feature helps rapidly spread other nastiness attributes this substance may have.

These attributes are ONLY based on peer-reviewed evidence. See link to Data Sources below. Everyone benefits from knowing this stuff. Please Share.



  • CATEGORIES: Chemical Found in Air near CSG Operations | Pit Chemicals | Chemicals detected in flowback and produced water - collectively referred to as - hydraulic fracturing wastewater | Cigarette Toxin | Industrial/Workplace Toxin | Pollutant | Food Toxin | Natural Toxin | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace
  • SUBSTANCE LINEAGE: Organic Compounds | Benzenoids | Pyrenes | Benzopyrenes | Benzopyrenes
  • SYNONYMS: 1,2-Benzpyrene | 3,4 Benzopyrene | 3,4 Benzpyrene | 3,4-Benz(a)pyrene | 3,4-Benzo(a)pyrene | 3,4-Benzopyrene | 3,4-Benzpyrene | 3,4-benzylpyrene | 3,4-Benzypyrene | 3,4-BP | 4,5-Benzpyrene | 6,7-Benzopyrene | Benz(a)pyrene | Benzo(a)pyrene | Benzo(d,e,f)chrysene | Benzo(def)chrysene | Benzopyrene | Benzo[a]pyrene solution | Benzo[d,e,f]chrysene | Benzo[def]chrysene | Benzo[PQR]tetraphene | Benzpyrene | BP
  • DESCRIPTION: Has been used in CSG, Hydraulic Fracturing Operations (Fracking) as - Unknown | Benzo[a]pyrene is one of over 100 different polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs are chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning organic substances, such as fossil fuels. They are usually found as a mixture containing two or more of these compounds. It is one ingredient of cigarette. (L10)
  • COMMENTS: This Chemical is in the category of PAH's and is found in Air near CSG Operations

    From Safe Work Australia and the Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) in Australia:

    May cause cancer. May cause genetic defects. May damage fertility. May damage the unborn child. May cause an allergic skin reaction. Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects. | Chronic Health Hazard Environmental Hazard General Health Hazard | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace. Check with your employer or health and safety officer. Stay informed and become aware of the dangers that surround you. This chemical is included on the list of recognised hazardous chemicals from the Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) that is based on the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)

    Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations are the basis for hazardous chemicals regulations in Commonwealth, State and Territory jurisdictions in Australia. Under the model WHS Regulations, manufacturers and importers of substances, mixtures and articles supplied for use in workplaces are required to determine whether they are hazardous to health and safety before supply. The model WHS Regulations mandate that the hazards of a chemical as determined by the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) must be included in safety data sheets and on labels. There are transitional arrangements in place for moving to the GHS-based system.

    The GHS Hazardous Chemical Information List contains chemicals classified by an authoritative source (such as the European Commission or NICNAS) in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (the GHS). This list contains the vast majority of chemicals currently in HSIS. This list and its detail are regularly updated by Work Safe Australia. The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations require chemicals to be classified in accordance with the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). However transitional arrangements allow use of classification information in HSIS derived from the Approved Criteria until the 31 December 2016.
  • toxin chemical structure pubchem
  • FORMULA: C20H12
  • DATA SOURCES: DATA SOURCES: ARTICLE 4 | CPDB | T3DB | PubChem | IARC | NTP | EPA_IRIS | OEHHA | TEDX | EPA in USA | Article-Colborn-Air | Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS)
  • LAST UPDATE: 28/04/2018

  Health Associations

Mostly focused on Health Implications of Long Term Exposure to this substance

  • SYMPTOMS: Acute exposure to PAHs causes irritation and inflammation of the skin and lung tissue. (A10)
  • POSSIBLE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES: PAHs are carcinogens and have been associated with the increased risk of skin, respiratory tract, bladder, stomach, and kidney cancers. They may also cause reproductive effects and depress the immune system. (L10) | PAH metabolism occurs in all tissues, usually by cytochrome P-450 and its associated enzymes. PAHs are metabolized into reactive intermediates, which include epoxide intermediates, dihydrodiols, phenols, quinones, and their various combinations. The phenols, quinones, and dihydrodiols can all be conjugated to glucuronides and sulfate esters; the quinones also form glutathione conjugates. (L10)
  • ACTION OF TOXIN: The ability of PAH's to bind to blood proteins such as albumin allows them to be transported throughout the body. Many PAH's induce the expression of cytochrome P450 enzymes, especially CYP1A1, CYP1A2, and CYP1B1, by binding to the aryl hydrocarbon receptor or glycine N-methyltransferase protein. These enzymes metabolize PAH's into their toxic intermediates. The reactive metabolites of PAHs (epoxide intermediates, dihydrodiols, phenols, quinones, and their various combinations) covalently bind to DNA and other cellular macromolecules, initiating mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. The main carcinogenic metabolite of benzo(a)pyrene is the diol-epoxide trans-9,10-epoxy-7,8-dihydrodiol. (L10, L23, A27, A32) | Many PAH's induce the expression of cytochrome P450 enzymes, especially CYP1A1, CYP1A2, and CYP1B1, by binding to the aryl hydrocarbon receptor or glycine N-methyltransferase protein. These enzymes metabolize PAH's into their toxic intermediates. The reactive metabolites of PAHs (epoxide intermediates, dihydrodiols, phenols, quinones, and their various combinations) covalently bind to DNA and other cellular macromolecules, initiating mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. (L10, L23, A27, A32)
  • TOXIN SITES OF ACTION IN CELL: "Membrane"
  • Additional Exposure Routes: PAHs are released into the environment via the combustion of fossil fuels, coke oven emissions and vehicle exhausts, as well as naturally from forest fires and volcanic eruptions. PAHs from these sources may contaminate nearly water systems. They are also found in coal tar and charbroiled food. (L10)

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  Exposure Routes

These are the Exposure Routes we have so far for this substance. There are almost certainly more. We update this section regularly. The number of chemicals with 2 or more nastiness attributes in an exposure route is shown in orange. They grey badge shows the total amount of chemicals within the exposure route.


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