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Concentrations and Chiral Signatures of Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Outdoor and Indoor Air and Soil in a Major U.K. Conurbation

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journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2007, 00:00 by Arsalan Jamshidi, Stuart Hunter, Sadegh Hazrati, Stuart Harrad
Concentrations and chiral signatures of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were measured in outdoor air (using polyurethane foam (PUF) − disk passive samplers) and surface soil samples taken at approximately monthly intervals over 1 year at 10 locations on a rural−urban transect across the West Midlands of the U.K. In both air and soil, concentrations clearly decrease with increasing distance from the city center, supporting the existence of an urban “pulse”, that indicate the West Midlands conurbation to be a source of PCBs to the wider environment. Concentrations of PCBs in outdoor air samples in this study are well below those reported previously for indoor air in the West Midlands. This, combined with comparison of chiral signatures in outdoor air and soil with those in samples of indoor air taken in the West Midlands, suggest strongly that the principal contemporary source of PCBs in this conurbation is ventilation of indoor air and not volatilization from soil. Future reductions in PCB concentrations in outdoor air and ultimately human exposure appear best achieved by action to remove remaining sources of PCBs from existing structures.