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Environmental fate & pathways

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The substance distillates (coal tar), heavy oils (anthracene oil >50 ppm BaP, AOH) consists mostly of 3- and 4-ring PAH (main components phenanthrene, anthracene, fluoranthene and pyrene - see Chapter 1.2). PAH are not readily biodegradable, but few of them are considered to be inherently biodegradable, e.g. phenanthrene and fluorene (3-ring PAH). Higher molecular weight PAH are considered recalcitrant not being biodegradable any more under ambient environmental conditions. This is supported by half-lives determined in soil for some 3- and 4-ring PAH (see table above). Overall, AOH is assessed as not biodegradable.