Agent Name

Soot (as found in occupational exposure of chimney sweeps)

Major Category

Other Uses




Exposures, PAH-Related


Black particles formed from combustion of coal, wood, fuel oil, waste oil, paper, plastics, and other organic materials and refuse; Soots contain about 60% or greater carbon content, plus inorganic and soluble organic fractions. [NTP]


Unwanted combustion by-products from fireplaces, furnaces, engine exhaust, etc. Potentially exposed workers include chimney sweeps, heating-unit service laborers, brick masons, demolition laborers, insulators, firefighters, metallurgical workers, and others who burn organic materials. [NTP]


Exposure to soots in chimney sweeps was first linked to skin (scrotal) cancer in 1775. The soluble organic fraction of soots consists of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and there derivatives. Inorganic chemicals present in soots include a number of carcinogens: arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and nickel. [NTP] Soots are occupational carcinogens with strong associations for skin and lung cancer and a suggestive association for esophageal cancer. [Siemiatycki, p. 327] Chimney sweeps had increased risk of skin and lung cancer. [IARC]

Reference Link

IARC 2012: Soot, as found in occupational exposure of chimney-sweeps

Exposure Assessment
Reference Link

NTP: Soots

Adverse Effects
IARC Carcinogen

Known Carcinogen

NTP Carcinogen

Human Carcinogen

Links to Other NLM Databases
Toxicity Information


Biomedical References

Search PubMed

Related Information in HazMap

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:


Industrial Processes with risk of exposure:


Activities with risk of exposure: