Several studies show that a large number of semi-volatile organic compounds (SOCs), and among them polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are global pollutants.
Atmospheric concentrations of PCBs in remote locatlons have not decreased or decreased very little since the 1970s, despite regulations that have drastically decreased the production of PCBs. This is a cause of concern since some PCB congeners are likely to cause toxicological effects at the present levels. Are PCB concentrations maintained by continuos diffuse emissions or are old emissions of PCBs being recycled?
What is the rate of decrease in remote areas of the globe for different PCB congeners? The proposed project aims to address and quantify the major global loss rates which will also help answer to the question: where will the PCBs end up? In deep-sea water? Coastal sediments? Soil? Or chemically transformed to other substances?
Preliminary global mass balance calculations point to the fact that all of these processes may be of significance for the environments capacity to remove pollutants on global scale. The proposed project will therefore be divided into sub-projects focusing on these different processes. Additional sub-projects will be modelling and compilation of data from other sub-projects, emission estimates for the completion of the global mass balance, and a quality assurance program to ensure the quality of all data generated within the project.
GLOBAL-SOC involves several aspects of method development and innovative approaches to the assessment of SOCs fate in a global perspective.
These issues are of fundamental concern for the environmental policy of the European Union and its individual member states.
SOCs are typical transboundary pollutants which must be addressed in international collaborations. This project is focused on PCBs because they are well studied in many aspects, readily analysed in any matrix even at remote locations and since most of the emissions have probably been reduced, the part recycled in the environment can be studied. PCBs in this study shall be seen as a "model compound group" to give us information about SOCs in general, in particular those SOCs that are in use today or in use until recently, in Europe and in other parts of the world e. g. polybrominated flame retardants, polychlorinated naphtalenes, chloroparaffins, DDT and other chlorinated pesticides.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
LA1 4YQ Lancaster /High Bantham