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A congener-specific PCDD/F emissions inventory for the UK: do current estimates account for the measured atmospheric burden?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date04/2001
Number of pages12
Original languageEnglish


Considerable effort has been expended in the UK and elsewhere to quantify and rank PCDD/F primary sources and emissions to the environment, principally the atmosphere, so that cost-effective source reduction measures can be taken. Here, we predict a congener-specific emissions inventory for primary and secondary nondioxin-regulated sources to the UK atmosphere, estimated to have ranged from 3 to 22 kg in 1996. The inventory profile is dominated by OCDD (30–40%), 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-HpCDD (15–19%) and 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-HpCDF (14–19%). Congeners 2,3,4,7,8-PeCDF and 1,2,3,7,8-PeCDD dominate the ΣTEQ composition. Mass balance modelling suggests that the predicted congener pattern in UK air (based on the emission inventory) is similar to observed measurements, with absolute concentrations being estimated within a factor of 2 for most congeners. Calculations taking into account atmospheric weathering processes and long range (advective) transport suggest that PCDD/F sources to ambient air are primarily ongoing and that atmospheric mixing will mask individual emission source profiles/identities. This supports measured evidence for the consistency of PCDD/F air profiles observed around the UK throughout the year.