Two studies were carried out on short-chain (C10-C13) and medium-chain (C14-C17) polychlorinated n-alkanes (sPCAs and mPCAs) in U.K. air samples. The first study entailed taking 20 24-h air samples with a pair of Hi-Vol air samplers at the Hazelrigg field station, near Lancaster University. These samples were carefully selected to coincide with times when air masses were predicted to have a fairly constant back trajectory for 24 h and to give a broad spectrum of different origins. The second study was a spatial survey of PCAs in the air at 20 outdoor sites in northern England and four indoor locations in Lancaster, using polyurethane foam (PUF) disk passive air samplers. Levels of the sPCAs in the Hi-Vol samples ranged from <185 to 3430 pg m-3 (average 1130 pg m-3) and were higher than those previously measured at this site in 1997. Levels of the mPCAs ranged from <811 to 14 500 pg m-3 (average 3040 pg m-3); that is, they were higher than sPCAs. Both sPCA and mPCA air concentrations are of the same order of magnitude as PAH at this site. Back trajectory analysis showed that the history of the air mass in the 48 h prior to sampling had an important effect on the concentrations observed, with overland samples having higher levels than oceanic, implying that the U.K. is probably responsible for most of the PCAs measured in the U.K. atmosphere. Amounts of both sPCAs and mPCAs in the passive air samples followed a rural-urban gradient. PCAs appear to be released from multiple sources around the country, as a result of the diffusive, open industrial and construction use of the technical mixtures.