Global Transport of Organic Pollutants: Ambient Concentrations in the Remote Marine Atmosphere

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Science  09 Jan 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4478, pp. 163-165
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4478.163


Concentrations of organic pollutants in the air and in precipitation have been measured at Enewetak Atoll in the North Pacific Ocean. These data from a site removed from industrial and human activity indicate the present concentrations of synthetic organic pollutants in the atmosphere and establish the long-range atmospheric transport of organic pollutants to remote marine areas. Hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorocyclohexane isomers are present in the remote marine atmosphere. Polychlorobiphenyls, total DDT, dieldrin, chlordane, and two phthalate ester plasticizers were also found in the samples. The concentrations of pollutants in the atmosphere remote from continental sources are good measures of the minimum concentrations of air pollutants on Earth.