Petroleum: Hydrocarbon Contamination

Authored by: Svetlana Drozdova , Erwin Rosenberg

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:


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Contamination of water, soil, and sediment samples by petroleum hydrocarbons is a common and severe environmental problem, caused by improper handling, storage, transport, or use of petrochemical products or raw materials. Petroleum hydrocarbons represent a mixture of compounds, and some of them (e.g., benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) may exhibit toxic and/or carcinogenic properties. Because petroleum products are a complex and highly variable mixture of hundreds of individual hydrocarbon compounds, characterizing the risks posed by petroleum-contaminated soil and water has proven to be difficult and inexact. It is very important to have an understanding of the toxicology, analytical science, environmental fate and behavior, risk, and technological implications of petroleum hydrocarbons in order to interpret, evaluate the risk of, and make decisions about potential hazardous effects to and ensure the appropriate protection of the environment.

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