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Environ Sci Technol. 2005 Jan 15;39(2):465-70.

Atmospheric concentrations and air-water flux of organochlorine pesticides along the Western Antarctic Peninsula.

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School of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062, USA.


Air, seawater, sea ice, and snow were collected during the austral winter (September-October 2001) and summer (January-February 2002) along the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) > heptachlor > alpha- and gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) and heptachlor epoxide, were the most frequently detected organochlorine pesticides in air. HCB and HCH levels declined over the past 20 years, with a half-life of 3 years for sigmaHCH in Antarctic air. However, heptachlor epoxide levels have not declined in Antarctic air over the past decade, possibly due to continued use of heptachlor in the southern hemisphere. Peak heptachlor concentrations in air were measured coincident with air masses moving into the region from lower latitudes. Levels of lindane were 1.2-200 times higher in annual sea ice and snow compared to alpha-HCH, likely due to greater atmospheric input of gamma-HCH. The ratio of alpha/gamma-HCH in Antarctic air, sea ice and snow was <1, illustrative of a predominance of influx of lindane versus technical HCH to the regional environment. However, alpha/gamma-HCH in seawater was >1, likely due to more rapid microbial degradation of gamma- versus alpha-HCH. Water/air fugacity ratios for HCHs demonstrate continued atmospheric influx of HCHs to coastal Antarctic seas, particularly during late summer.

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