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Environ Toxicol Chem. 2001 Apr;20(4):922-7.

Comparing representations of the environmental spatial scale of organic chemicals.

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  • 1Institute of Environmental Systems Research, University of Osnabrück, Germany.


Long-range transport potential is one of the criteria proposed to identify chemicals as persistent organic pollutants. Here, different approaches to determine the spatial scale of an environmental area or region that can be impacted by an emitted chemical are investigated. A ranking of chemicals according to the spatial range R on a limited scale, as suggested by Scheringer, is equivalent to the characteristic travel distance L according to Bennett et al. on a linear, open scale. However, the methods are different with respect to the weighting of differences between the chemicals and according to their comparability with persistence. The characteristic travel distance L and the overall persistence are both plotted on open log-linear scales, whereas the spatial range R is represented on a limited scale. Various approaches of how to account for the mode of entry of chemicals are compared, and it is argued that relative measures are more appropriate to describe the long-range transport potential of chemicals than absolute numbers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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