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Levels, distribution and air-soil exchange fluxes of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the environment of Punjab Province, Pakistan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date1/11/2013
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Volume97
Number of pages7
Pages189-195
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

An initial survey of the concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) compounds in air and soils across industrial and agricultural areas of Punjab Province, Pakistan, was conducted from January to March 2011. The total concentration of all PCBs (<Sigma>31 PCBs) ranged from 34 to 389pgm(-3) in air and from 7 to 45ngg(-1) dry weight in soils, where both ranges were similar to the average ranges in other areas of the world. PCBs were elevated across industrial regions near urban and industrial sources. Consistently low air concentrations of PCBs at the agricultural sites suggest that they are less widespread or uniformly distributed in the Pakistani atmosphere. The calculated air and soil fugacity fraction values indicated that soils are a potential secondary source of PCBs in agricultural areas, whereas they are in equilibrium or atmospheric deposition in industrial and urban areas. TEQ concentrations of dioxin-like PCBs for soil samples met the Canadian standard. However, local authorities should address the human health threats from urban and industrial soils in Punjab Province, Pakistan.