Author(s): Breivik K, Pacyna JM, Mnch J
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Abstract Data on current and historical usage of alpha, beta, and gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) in Europe are presented. The data were collected and estimated as a part of a project studying the regional cycling of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the Baltic environment (Popcycling-Baltic). Better data on sources, environmental discharges and atmospheric emissions of HCH and other POPs are needed to study, and hopefully reduce, the impact of these pollutants on the environment. Substantial uncertainties are assigned to the estimated data for individual countries and years, but it seems likely that the general trend of usage in Europe is captured. The quality of the estimates is thought to improve in general throughout the period, thus, reflecting the availability of reliable data. The results suggest that 382,000 t of technical HCH and 81,000 t of lindane were used in Europe from 1970 to 1996. This is equivalent to an estimated cumulative usage of 259,000 t alpha-HCH, 235,000 t gamma-HCH and 20,000 t beta-HCH. The usage of technical HCH was the major source of gamma-HCH until the late 1970s, and thereafter lindane became the dominating source of this isomer. The use of gamma-HCH in 1996 was estimated to still be nearly one-third of the European usage in 1970. The pattern of decreasing concentrations in biota follows the pattern of reductions in usage for the studied period within the Baltic area.
This article was published in Sci Total Environ
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation