PCBs and organochlorine pesticides in indoor environments - A comparison of indoor contamination in Canada and Czech Republic

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Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are restricted compounds that are ubiquitously detected in the environment, including indoor matrices such as air and residential dust. We report concentrations of PCBs and selected OCPs in indoor air and dust from homes in Canada (23 homes) and Czech Republic (20 homes). Indoor air concentrations of PCBs and OCPs were ∼10 times higher than that outdoors. PCB concentrations of ∼450 ng/m3 were similar in both countries, higher in homes built before the restrictions on PCBs, and had congener profiles consistent with PCB mixtures manufactured or used in each country. All OCP air concentrations were higher in the Czech Republic than in the Canadian samples, suggesting greater indoor use of, for example, DDT and HCH. These data emphasize the persistence of these organochlorine compounds indoors and their presence in homes even decades after new usage was prohibited. Indoor levels of these legacy POPs remain at similar concentrations to compounds of current concern, such as brominated flame retardants and perfluorinated alkyl substances, emphasizing that they deserve ongoing attention in view of knowledge of PCB and OCP toxicity.

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