Benzofluoranthene is one of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds, suspected or proven carcinogens. It is found in smoke and soot where it then combines with dust particles in the air and is carried into water and soil and onto crops. Benzofluoranthene is also found in coal tar pitch and creosote.
People may be exposed to benzofluoranthene from occupational or environmental sources. Typically, exposure is not to benzofluoranthene alone but to a mixture of similar chemicals, such as in cigarette smoke. The largest sources of benzofluoranthene in the air are open burning and home heating with wood and coal. Contact exposure can occur from products that contain PAHs such as creosote-treated wood, asphalt roads, or coal tar. Some drinking water supplies in the United States have been found to contain low levels of the chemical. Foods grown in contaminated soil or air may contain benzofluoranthene. High cooking temperatures increases levels of benzofluoranthene.
The greatest exposure to benzofluoranthene is likely to take place in the workplace. People who work in coal tar production plants; coking plants; asphalt production plants; coal-gasification sites; smoke houses; municipal trash incinerators; and facilities that burn wood, coal, or oil may be exposed to benzofluoranthene in the workplace air. Benzofluoranthene may also be found in areas where high-temperature food fryers and ovens are used.