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Environ Pollut. 2013 Nov;182:15-27. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2013.06.041. Epub 2013 Jul 25.

Concentrations and geographic distribution of selected organic pollutants in Scottish surface soils.

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  • 1The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK.


Concentrations of selected persistent organic pollutants (POPs) representing three chemical classes (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and the organic pollutant diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), were determined in surface soil samples (0-5 cm) collected at 20 km grid intersects throughout Scotland over a three-year period. Detectable amounts of all chemical classes and most individual congeners were present in all samples. There were no consistent effects of soil or vegetation type, soil carbon content, pH, altitude or distance from centres of population on concentrations which exhibited extreme variation, even in adjacent samples. It is concluded that soil POPs and DEHP concentrations and associated rates of animal and human exposure were highly variable, influenced by multiple, interacting factors, and not clearly related to local sources but possibly related to wet atmospheric deposition and the organic carbon content of the soil.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Diethylhexyl phthalate; Endocrine disrupting compounds; Geographic variation; Persistent organic pollutants; Soil

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