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Environ Sci Technol. 2006 Aug 15;40(16):4867-73.

Toward a global network for persistent organic pollutants in air: results from the GAPS study.

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  • 1Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, Toronto, Ontario.


The Global Atmospheric Passive Sampling (GAPS) study aims to demonstrate the feasibility of using passive samplers to assess the spatial distribution of persistent organic pollutants on a worldwide basis. The GAPS network includes more than 40 sites on 7 continents, mainly in background locations, with some representation of urban and agricultural areas. Here we present concentrations of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in polyurethane foam disk samplers, deployed from December 2004 to March 2005. Legacy OCPs such as alpha-HCH (hexachlorocyclohexane), Chlordanes (trans- and cis-Chlordane and trans-Nonachlor), Dieldrin, and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane isomers were detected at most sites with some high values that may be related to possible continued use and/or re-emissions related to historic use. Geometric mean (GM) air concentrations (pg/m3) were: 8.5 for sigmaHCH (sum of alpha- and gamma-isomers), 2.6 for sigmaChlordanes, 0.8 for Dieldrin, and 0.8 for p,p'-DDE. Current-use pesticides such as gamma-HCH (lindane) and especially Endosulfan I exhibited more variable and higher concentrations with GMs of 5 and 58, respectively. PCBs and PBDEs were elevated at urban/suburban sites consistent with their historical use pattern. GM concentrations (pg/m3) were 17 for PCBs and 4 for PBDEs. Sampling under GAPS will continue and will eventually allow seasonality effects and longer-term temporal and spatial trends to be evaluated.

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