Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Trends in European background air reflect reduc...


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Trends in European background air reflect reductions in primary emissions of PCBs and PBDEs

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number17
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)6760-6766
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date2/08/10
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Data are presented for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyls ethers (PBDEs) in passive air samplers (PAS) collected along a rural/remote latitudinal transect from southern UK to northern Norway during 2004-2008. This study is part of an ongoing campaign, using semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) as PAS over two year intervals since 1994. Absolute sequestered amounts of selected PCB congeners have decreased in a first order fashion between 1994-2008, with the average time of 8.4 ± 3.2 years for atmospheric concentrations to decline by 50%. PCBs have continued to fractionate with latitude during this period. PBDE concentrations declined by 50% between 2000 and 2008 every 2.2 ± 0.4 years. Results are discussed in terms of sources, long-range atmospheric transport, global fractionation, and clearance processes. It is concluded that the spatial and temporal trends in background European air mainly reflect the strength of primary diffusive emissions of these compounds and subsequently their ongoing declines. The direct evidence for this is similar rates of decline at all the sites; similar rates of decline for all congeners; no systematic change in the fractionation pattern since 1994. The latest results indicate a reduction in the rate of decline for PCBs (and hence in primary emissions).