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Sci Total Environ. 2011 Jan 15;409(4):792-9. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.10.051. Epub 2010 Dec 9.

Modeling toxaphene behavior in the Great Lakes.

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Center for Air Resource Engineering and Science, Clarkson University, United States.


Chlorinated camphenes, toxaphene, are persistent organic pollutants of concern in the Great Lakes since elevated concentrations are found in various media throughout the system. While concentrations have decreased since their peak values in the 1970s and 80s, recent measurements have shown that the rate of this decline in Lake Superior has decreased significantly. This modeling study focused on toxaphene cycling in the Great Lakes and was performed primarily to determine if elevated water and fish concentrations in Lake Superior can be explained by physical differences among the lakes. Specifically, the coastal zone model for persistent organic pollutants (CoZMo-POP), a fugacity-based multimedia fate model, was used to calculate toxaphene concentrations in the atmosphere, water, soil, sediment, and biota. The performance of the model was evaluated by comparing calculated and reported concentrations in these compartments. In general, simulated and observed concentrations agree within one order of magnitude. Both model results and observed values indicate that toxaphene concentrations have declined in water and biota since the 1980s primarily as the result of decreased atmospheric deposition rates. Overall the model results suggest that the CoZMo-POP2 model does a reasonable job in simulating toxaphene variations in the Great Lakes basin. The results suggest that the recent findings of higher toxaphene concentrations in Lake Superior can be explained by differences in the physical properties of the lake (primarily large volume, large residence time and cold temperatures) compared to the lower lakes and increased recent inputs are not needed to explain the measured values.

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