Potential release of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from cured rubber materials containing carbon black as reinforcing agent was studied on the basis of seven standard formulations prepared with different loadings of a carbon black grade specifically selected for its high PAH content. A specific test method involving Soxhlet extraction with toluene was developed and validated for quantification of the US-EPA and EU priority PAHs in the rubber materials containing up to 350 ppm of these compounds. PAH migration into aqueous media was assessed by total immersion of rubber sheets into drinking water, artificial sweat, saliva and rainwater for 7 days at 30 °C. GC/MS and internal deuterated standards were applied for PAH determination in all tests. Migration of PAHs from the cured rubber into aqueous media was not detected for the EU PAHs including benzo(a)pyrene and proved to be very low for the combined US-EPA PAHs, not exceeding 1.2 µg/dm2. Migration-derived PAH concentrations for drinking water were at least 105 lower than those in the rubber compounds. This study demonstrates that once incorporated into a rubber matrix, the PAHs originating from carbon black are scarcely available to aqueous media. These results should be considered while developing PAH exposure assessments for rubber articles.

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