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Research article2009Peer reviewed

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

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


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). (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Urban soils; Polychlorinated biphenyls; Congener profiles; Source identification

Published in

Environmental Pollution
2009, Volume: 157, number: 2, pages: 511-518

      SLU Authors

    • Otabbong, Erasmus

      • Department of Soil Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    Sustainable Development Goals

    Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
    Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


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