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Modeling Historical Emissions and Environmental Fate of PCBs in the United Kingdom

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Publication date15/01/2000
Host publicationPersistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic Chemicals II
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780841218314
ISBN (Print)9780841236752
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameACS Symposium Series
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
ISSN (Print)0097-6156


A primary emission driven fugacity model of the historical fate, behavior and distribution of PCBs in the UK environment is described. The model attempts to re-create the temporal release trend of PCBs over the last 40 years and to replicate the observed historical trends in soils and sediments. The releases of PCBs to the UK atmosphere are modeled using emission curves calculated from production and use data and emission factors. Life-spans of end uses, such as capacitors and transformers, are included, resulting in the removal or reduction of potential sources. As a result of release to the atmosphere from primary sources and the advection of contaminated air into the atmosphere, the UK environment has become contaminated, with the soil accounting for most of the burden. The model predictions agree reasonably well with measured data from archived soils and fresh water sediment cores, both in terms of temporal trends and predicted concentrations. The use of soil-air fugacity ratios suggests that soil changed from being a net sink through the 1950's until the mid 1980's into a net source during the 1990's. Current measured and predicted ratios suggest that near equilibrium conditions exist. A sensitivity analysis of the model is also included and discussed along with recommendations as to possible future improvements to models of this type.