The variability of polychlorinated biphenyls levels in urban soils from five European cities

A. Cachada, L. V. Lopes, A. S. Hursthouse, M. Biasioli, H. Grcman, E. Otabbong, C. M. Davidson, A. C. Duarte

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The concentration of PCBs in topsoils from five European cities was assessed and the highest levels were found in Glasgow (Scotland), followed by Torino (Italy), Aveiro (Portugal), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Uppsala (Sweden). All cities showed the presence of local sources in addition to diffuse contamination from global atmospheric transport. The association of general soil parameters with PCBs in Glasgow and with heavier congeners in Torino and Ljubljana indicates that retention of these compounds is occurring. The profiles obtained resemble Aroclor 1254 and 1260, which are important local sources. Nevertheless, differences in PCB profiles were observed among cities, due to the combined effects of the age of the contamination (which determines the time available for volatilisation and degradation), different sources of PCBs and differences in climate (which influence volatilisation and deposition).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-518
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • Urban soils
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Congener profiles
  • Source identification

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