Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) continue to cycle through the atmosphere and hydrosphere despite banned or severely restricted usages. Global scale analyses of POPs are challenging, but knowledge of the current distribution of these compounds is needed to understand the movement and long-term consequences of their global use. In the current study, air and seawater samples were collected Oct. 2007–Jan. 2008 aboard the Icebreaker Oden en route from Göteborg, Sweden to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Both air and surface seawater samples consistently contained α-hexachlorocyclohexane (α-HCH), γ-HCH, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), α-Endosulfan, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Sample concentrations for most POPs in air were higher in the northern hemisphere with the exception of HCB, which had high gas phase concentrations in the northern and southern latitudes and low concentrations near the equator. South Atlantic and Southern Ocean seawater had a high ratio of α-HCH to γ-HCH, indicating persisting levels from technical grade sources. The Atlantic and Southern Ocean continue to be net sinks for atmospheric α-, γ-HCH, and Endosulfan despite declining usage.
Science of The Total Environment
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Luek, J.L., Dickhut, R.M., Cochran, M.A., Falconer, R.L., Kylin, H. 2017. Persistent organic pollutants in the Atlantic and Southern Oceans and oceanic atmosphere. Science of the Total Environment 583, 64-71.