Integrated Chemical and Biological Analysis of Asphalt and Pitch Fumes

  • Philip S. Thayer
  • Judith C. Harris
  • Kenneth T. Menzies
  • Richard W. Niemeier
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 27)


Significant increased risks in developing cancer of the lung, upper respiratory tract, and upper gastrointestinal tract, including stomach cancer, have been demonstrated for individuals working 20 or more years in roofing operations (Hammond et al., 1976) . These investigators have also documented trends of increased risk of prostate, bladder, or skin cancer, and leukemia in these workers. The occupational exposures incurred by roofers may be associated with high levels of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) arising from the heating and application of petroleum asphalts and coal tar pitch. These findings are consistent with results of other studies that have indicated that excessive occupational exposure to PAHs may be associated with increased mortality from various types of cancer. Examples of these occupations include chimney sweeps (Pott, 1775) and coke oven workers (Lloyd, 1971; Mazumdar et al., 1975; Redmond et al., 1972). Skin cancer mortality may be of borderline significance in many of these occupations only because deaths due to skin cancer are rare. However, skin cancer incidence may be excessive.


Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbon Simulated Sunlight Roofing Material Petroleum Asphalt Coke Oven Worker 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. ASTM. 1978. 1978 Annual Book of Standards, Part 15, Roads and Paving Materials; Bituminous Materials for Highway Construction, Waterproofing and Roofing. American Society for Testing and Materials: Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  2. Bingham, E., H.L. Falk. 1969. Environmental carcinogens: the modifying effect of cocarcinogens on threshold response. Arch. Environ. Health 19:779–783.Google Scholar
  3. Bingham, E., R.P. Trosset, and D. Warshawsky. 1979. Carcinogenic potential of petroleum hydrocarbons: a critical review of the literature. J. Environ. Pathol. Toxicol. 3:483–563.Google Scholar
  4. Hammond, E.C., I.J. Selikoff, P.L. Lawther, and H. Seidman. 1976. Inhalation of benzpyrene and cancer in man. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 271:116–124.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Horton, A.W., D.T. Denman, and R.P. Trosset. 1957. Carcinogenesis of the skin: the accelerating properties of aliphatic and related hydrocarbons. Cancer Res. 17:758–66.Google Scholar
  6. Horton, A.W., M.J. Burton, R. Tye, and E. Bingham. 1963. Composition vs. Carcinogenicity of Distillate Oil. ACS Division of Petroleum Chemical Preprints 8. No. 4C59–65. American Chemical Society: Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  7. Lentzen, D.E., D.E. Wagoner, E.D. Estes, and W.F. Gutknecht. 1978. IERL-RTP Procedures Manual: Level 1 Environmental Assessment, 2nd Edition. EPA-600/7–78–201. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Research Triangle Park, NCGoogle Scholar
  8. Lloyd, J.W. 1971. Long-term mortality study of steelworkers, Volume V: respiratory cancer in coke plant workers. J. Occup. Med. 13:53–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Mazumdar, S., C.K. Redmond, W. Sollecito, and N. Sussman. 1975. The epidemiological study of exposure to coal tar pitch volatiles of coke oven workers. J. Air Pollut. Cont. Assoc. 25:382.Google Scholar
  10. NIOSH. 1974. National Occupational Hazards Survey, Volume I: Survey Manual, DHEW Pub. No. 74–127. Volume II: Data Editing and Data Base Development, DHEW Pub. No. 77–213. Volume III: Survey Analysis and Supplemental Tables, DHEW Pub. No. 78–114. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  11. NIOSH. 1977a. Criteria for a Recommended Standard-Occupational Exposure to Coal Tar Products, DHEW Pub. No. 78–107. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  12. NIOSH. 1977b. Criteria for a Recommended Standard-Occupational Exposure to Asphalt Fumes, DHEW Pub. No. 78–106. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  13. Pott, P. 1775. Cancer Scrote. In: Chirurgical Observations Relative to the Cataract, the Polypus of the Nose, the Cancer of the Scrotum, the Different Kinds of Ruptures and the Mortification of the Toes and Feet. L. Hawes, W. Clark, and R. Collins, eds. London, pp. 63–68.Google Scholar
  14. Puzinauskas, V.P., and L.W. Corbett. 1978. Differences between Petroleum Asphalt, Coal-Tar Pitch and Road Tar. Research Report 78–1. Asphalt Institute: College Park, MD. 31 pp.Google Scholar
  15. Redmond, C.K., A. Ciocco, J.W. Lloyd, and H.W. Rush. 1972. Long-term mortality study of steelworkers, Volume VI: mortality from malignant neoplasms among coke oven workers. J. Occup. Med. 14:621–629.Google Scholar
  16. Santamaria, L., G.G. Giordano, M. Alfici, and F. Cascione. 1966. Effects of light on 3,4-benzpyrene carcinogenesis. Nature 210:824–825.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Thayer, P.S., K.T. Menzies, and P.C. von Thuna. 1981. Roofing Asphalts, Pitch and UVL Carcinogenesis. Final report on National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health contract 210–78–0035.Google Scholar
  18. Thomas, J.F., and M. Mukai. 1975. Evaluation of Emissions from Asphalt Roofing Kettles with Respect to Air Pollution. Research Report 75–2 (RR-75–2). Asphalt Institute: College Park, MD.Google Scholar
  19. Urbach, F. 1959. Modification of ultraviolet carcinogenesis by photoactive agents. J. Invest. Dermat. 32:373–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wallcave, L., H. Garcia, R. Feldman, W. Lyinksky, and P. Shubik. 1971. Skin tumorigenesis in mice by petroleum asphalts and coal tar pitches of known polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon content. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 18:41–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip S. Thayer
    • 1
  • Judith C. Harris
    • 1
  • Kenneth T. Menzies
    • 1
  • Richard W. Niemeier
    • 2
  1. 1.Arthur D. Little, Inc.CambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Division of Biomedical and Behavioral ScienceNational Institute for Occupational Safety and HealthCincinnatiUSA

Personalised recommendations