Air pollutants 'multiply' in sunlight (IMAGE) University of Johannesburg Caption When power stations burn coal, a class of compounds called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, or PAHs, form part of the resulting air pollution. Researchers have found that PAHs toxins degrade in sunlight into 'children' compounds and by-products. Some 'children' compounds can be more toxic than the 'parent' PAHs. Rivers and dams affected by PAHs are likely contaminated by a much larger number of toxins than are emitted by major polluters. The study by researchers from the University of Johannesburg and the University of Maryland appeared in Chemosphere. Credit Therese van Wyk, University of Johannesburg Usage Restrictions None License Licensed content Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.