Twenty-one street dust samples were collected in Huanggang City, Hubei Province, Central China. Sixteen priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Concentrations of ∑16PAHs ranged from 622.97 µg kg–1 to 4340.67 µg kg–1 with an average of 1862.10 µg kg–1. Among these PAHs, high-molecular-weight PAHs (four to six rings), which are the predominant PAH contributors in street dust, accounted for 55%–73% of total PAHs. Mean concentration of PAHs among the four functional districts followed the order: education district > traffic area> business district > residential area. However, individual PAH concentrations presented weak correlation with total organic carbon. Based on the isomer ratios of PAH, biomass and coal combustion; and petroleum input were two key factors controlling PAH levels in this study. At 95% confidence interval, total incremental lifetime cancer risks for children, adolescence and adults approximated 10–6–1.5 × 10–5. These values were higher than the baseline value for acceptable risk (10–6), indicating potential carcinogenic risk.