The aliphatic and polycyclic aromatic fractions of dust collected in the vicinity of recycled paper processing operations were analyzed using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Total measured dust concentration (up to 8.73 ± 2.02 mg/m3) fluctuated substantially in the different steps of paper manufacture. This was attributed to the type of the operation such as, the release of fibers and particles during paper cutting and the use of reactive chemicals and excessive water under high temperature and pressure during the bleaching and the water rinsing/drying step. Particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (from fluorene to benzo[ghi]perylene with mean concentrations from 3.8 ± 0.5 to 41.4 ± 0.4 ng/m3) and the unresolved mixture of branched, cyclic and unsaturated hydrocarbons (UCM) were measured in all samples while, n-alkanes from n-C20 to n-C27, were only observed in cutting and packaging areas (from 180.6 ± 18.9 to 4297.9 ± 794.9 ng/m3). The profile of occupational PAHs in bleaching and treatment of contaminated recycled raw paper was comparable to that observed for anthropogenic activities. The values of molecular diagnostic ratios indicated the contribution of oil residues and emissions from worklifts and other equipment used for pulp and paper handling. Total benzo[a]pyrene-equivalent (BaP) concentrations of particulate PAHs (varied from 323 up to 1104 pg/m3), provided evidence that workers were exposed to high quantities of PAHs as compared with exposures to urban air and other indoor settings, posing long-term threat to their health. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.