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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The relative influence of distant and local (DEW-line) PCB sources in the Canadian Arctic.

Soil PCB contamination has been delineated at 18 of 21 Distant Early Warning Line (DEW-line) stations being cleaned up by the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND). As a result, detailed surface soil delineation data has been reported for contamination exceeding 1 microg/g (dw total Aroclor), which is the remedial criteria for PCB contaminated soil under the DEW-line cleanup project. The results of this delineation work has allowed us to estimate the mass of PCB contained in surface soil at these sites and to quantify the DEW-line as a source of PCBs to both local and Arctic wide contamination. Our analysis of DEW-line cleanup delineation reports suggests that pre-cleanup surface soils (top 10 cm) with over 1 microg/g PCB constituted a source of PCBs that ranged from 0.8 to 43 kg with a mean of 18 kg. The total mass of PCB at all 18 sites was 119 kg. Previous studies have described a "halo-effect" that surrounds DEW-line sites, whereby PCB signatures in soil and plants up to 10 km from source areas were attributed to the local source. At Cambridge Bay (CAM-M), Nunavut, our inventory of PCB sources and redistribution suggests that up to 3.4 kg of PCB were exported from the site to the surrounding tundra prior to cleanup. The primary mechanism of transportation appears to be wind borne particulate. Potential vapour phase emissions of PCB from contaminated soil at DEW-line sites appears to have been negligible.[1]


  1. The relative influence of distant and local (DEW-line) PCB sources in the Canadian Arctic. Stow, J.P., Sova, J., Reimer, K.J. Sci. Total Environ. (2005) [Pubmed]
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