Research facilitation and management for Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore industry
Lead PI: Dr. Marc Lamoureux
Subject Category: Health, Safety and the Environment
Start Date: Jul 2001
End Date: Jul 2003
Institution / Organization: Saint Mary's University
Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, also known as "PAHs" are a type of contaminant found in the marine environment. PAHs are a health threat. They are carcinogenic to marine organisms and some types of PAHs are also classified as potent human carcinogens. PAHs enter our marine environment from power plants, gasoline and diesel engines, waste incineration, petroleum refining, and from accidental oil spills. Once spilled into the environment, soils and sediments become the primary reservoir of PAH contamination.
Dr. Marc Lamoureux, through a grant from Petroleum Research NL, completed a study on new chemical methods for determining the occurrence, level of contamination, and the fate of PAHs in sediments and soils. Dr. Lamoureux's research not only resulted in a cost-effective approach to measure PAH levels, but produced methods that can be used to "fingerprint" the source of the contamination, an important ingredient for preventing future spills. The results of this study also feed into an existing hydrology model to provide more accurate prediction about the fate and transport of PAH in the environment.