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Long-range transport of wastes containing PCBs and other industrial organic contaminants: Implications for global fate and control strategies.

Breivik, K.; Chakraborty, P.; Gioia, R.; Jones, K.C.; Zhang, G.

Publication details

Invited guest lecture University of Toronto, 25. Nov 2011.

Summary: Recent studies show that PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) air concentrations remain surprisingly high in parts of Africa and Asia. These are regions where PCBs were never extensively used, but which are implicated as recipients of obsolete products and wastes containing PCBs and other industrial organic contaminants. We hypothesize that there may be different trends in emissions across the globe, whereby emissions of some industrial organic contaminants may be decreasing faster in former use regions (due to emission reductions combined with uncontrolled export), at the expense of regions receiving these substances as obsolete products and wastes. While significant efforts and achievements have been made by the scientific community to understand and predict LRT of such chemicals by air and water, it is cautioned that the global sources and fate of these chemicals still cannot be fully rationalized (nor controlled) without an understanding of emissions due to ¿LRT¿ by products and wastes. However, the potential for detrimental effects on the environment and human health due to LRT by air, water, or wastes should be of equal concern when managing and regulating industrial organic contaminants. This calls for a better integration of life-cycle approaches in the management and regulation of industrial organic contaminants in order to protect environmental and human health on a global scale. Yet, in comparison to LRT by air and water, little remains known about the LRT of industrial organic contaminants as obsolete products and wastes because of the often illicit nature of these operations.