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Issue 9, 2010
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Spatial and temporal pattern of pesticides in the global atmosphere

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As part of the Global Atmospheric Passive Sampling (GAPS) study, XAD-resin based passive samplers are being deployed for consecutive one-year periods at numerous sites on all seven continents to determine annually averaged concentrations of persistent organic pollutants. Concentrations of banned organochlorine pesticides as well as a number of current-use pesticides in samples from the first four years, roughly coinciding with 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, show distinct spatial and temporal patterns. Whereas organochlorine pesticides such as α- and γ-hexachlorocyclohexane, endosulfans, DDT and its metabolites, and chlordane-related compounds tend to be more prevalent in developing countries, especially in Asia, concentrations of current use pesticides such as trifluralin and chlorothalonil are often higher in Europe and North America. Based on 15 stations with four years of data, levels of hexachlorobenzene, hexachlorocyclohexanes and chlordanes decline in most world regions, which may reflect decreased usage in response to global restrictions. Levels of organochlorine pesticides in India, however, remain exceptionally high. Concentrations of α-endosulfan, chlorothalonil and trifluralin decrease in the European atmosphere during the sampling periods, indicating reduced usage. Consistently high α/γ-HCH ratios in air samples from high Northern latitudes confirm that re-volatilization from the Arctic Ocean is a significant source of α-HCH. The highest levels of α-HCH, however, occur in conjunction with high γ-HCH levels, suggesting that lindane use is now the major source of α-HCH to the global atmosphere. Although a wide variety of sampling site types aids in characterizing the entire global concentration variability of a pesticide, it also increases greatly the number of sites required for a robust regional differentiation.

Graphical abstract: Spatial and temporal pattern of pesticides in the global atmosphere

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Article information

19 Apr 2010
05 Jul 2010
First published
09 Aug 2010

J. Environ. Monit., 2010,12, 1650-1657
Article type

Spatial and temporal pattern of pesticides in the global atmosphere

C. Shunthirasingham, C. E. Oyiliagu, X. Cao, T. Gouin, F. Wania, S. Lee, K. Pozo, T. Harner and D. C. G. Muir, J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 1650
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00134A

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