New Contaminant Invades Arctic Air

[The research papers cited below are from the journal Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly, peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, and are for immediate release. The papers are available on the Society's ASAP (As Soon As Publishable) web site and will appear in the hard copy versions of the journal as indicated in the following copy. The ASAP site is designed for journal subscribers and is not open to the general public. Journalists desiring access to the site must submit their requests in writing to n_blount@acs.org in the ACS Office of News & Information.]

For the first time, researchers report concentrations of environmentally unfriendly PCNs ' polychlorinated naphthalenes ' in the air over the arctic region of the globe. PCNs, predecessors to the infamous PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), previously have been found in humans, birds, fish, water, air and sediment in non-polar regions in North America and Europe. They also have been found in fish from the Arctic.

"The ubiquitous nature of PCNs is of concern because of their dioxin-like toxicity," claims a group of Canadian and Swedish researchers writing in the Nov. 1 issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology, published by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. PCN use has declined in recent years, but, unlike PCBs, they are not banned in most countries and can still be found in capacitor fluids, engine oil additives and electrical insulators, according to the report. The results of the study are based on air samples taken over the Eastern Arctic Ocean, the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Sea, and at two land-based sites in Canada and eastern Siberia in Russia.

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Contact: Marv Coyner
American Chemical Society

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