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PCDD/Fs in Norwegian and UK soils: implications for sources and environmental cycling.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/07/2005
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number13
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)4784-4792
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper presents data on polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) in a set of well-characterized, undisturbed surface (0−5 cm) and subsurface background soils from the U.K. and Norway. The soils have been used previously to investigate the latitudinal distribution, fractionation, cold condensation, and “hopping” of other classes of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The mono- to octa-CDD/F homologues were quantified. Woodland soils contained higher concentrations (on a dry and soil organic matter (SOM)-basis) than grassland soils, consistent with previous studies. The absolute concentrations of all the PCDDs and most of the PCDFs significantly decreased with latitude, generally supporting the idea of a “southern source region” and a “remote/receiving northern region”. There was little evidence of “fractionation” and minimal influence of PCDD/F “hopping” on PCDD/F distribution. The %SOM content had a rather minor influence on soil PCDD/F composition. These findings contrast with the trends seen in these soils for hexachlorobenzene (HCB), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Possible reasons for these differences are discussed and may include influences of/proximity to diffusive combustion sources and/or sources of variable homologue emissions, formation/conversion processes for PCDD/Fs in soils, or strong soil−PCDD/F partitioning. These soils, from regionally remote/ background locations in Europe contained between 0.2 and 78 pg ΣTEQ/g DW. Some therefore exceed recommended levels of contamination for certain land uses by some European countries. These recommendations seem unrealistic and prohibitively restrictive in light of the dataset presented here.