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Persistent organic pollutants in the Tibetan surface soil: spatial distribution, air–soil exchange and implications for global cycling

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Xiao-ping Wang
  • Jiu-jiang Sheng
  • Ping Gong
  • Yong-gang Xue
  • Tan-dong Yao
  • Kevin C. Jones
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Pollution
Number of pages7
<mark>Original language</mark>English


There are limited data on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the soils of the Tibetan Plateau. This paper presents data from a survey of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in 40 background surface (0–5 cm) soils of the Tibetan Plateau. Soil concentrations (pg/g, dw) ranged as follows: DDTs, 13-7700; HCHs, 64-847; HCB, 24-564; sum of 15 PCBs, 75-1021; and sum of 9 PBDEs, below detection limit −27. Soil DDT, HCB, PCB and PBDE concentrations were strongly influenced by soil organic carbon content. HCH concentrations were clearly associated with the proximity to source regions in south Asia. The air–soil equilibrium status of POPs suggested the Tibetan soils may be partial “secondary sources” of HCB, low molecular weight PCBs and HCHs and will likely continue to be “sinks” for the less volatile DDE and DDT.