Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are recognized as environmentally relevant for their potential adverse effects on human and ecosystem health. This paper describes a method to determine the distribution of PAH and alkylated homolog groups in sediment samples. Pressurized liquid extraction (PLE), coupled with solid-phase extraction (SPE) cleanup, was developed to decrease sample preparation time, to reduce solvent consumption, and to minimize background interferences for full-scan GC-MS analysis. Recoveries from spiked Ottawa sand, environmental stream sediment, and commercially available topsoil, fortified at 1.5-15 ??g per compound, averaged 94.6 ?? 7.8%, 90.7 ?? 5.8% and 92.8 ?? 12.8%, respectively. Initial method detection limits for single-component compounds ranged from 20 to 302 ??g/kg, based on 25 g samples. Results from 28 environmental sediment samples, excluding homologs, show 35 of 41 compounds (85.4%) were detected in at least one sample with concentrations ranging from 20 to 100,000 ??g/kg. The most frequently detected compound, 2,6-dimethylnaphthalene, was detected in 23 of the 28 (82%) environmental samples with a concentration ranging from 15 to 907 ??g/kg. The results from the 28 environmental sediment samples for the homolog series showed that 27 of 28 (96%) samples had at least one homolog series present at concentrations ranging from 20 to 89,000 ??g/kg. The most frequently detected homolog series, C2-alkylated naphthalene, was detected in 26 of the 28 (93%) environmental samples with a concentration ranging from 25 to 3900 ??g/kg. Results for a standard reference material using dichloromethane Soxhlet-based extraction also are compared. ?? 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.