Assessing atmospheric concentration of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) by evergreen Rhododendron maximum next to a contaminated stream
Product Type:Journal Article
Author(s):Dang, V.D., D.M. Walters, and C.M. Lee.
Suggested Citation:Dang, V.D., D.M. Walters, and C.M. Lee. 2016. Assessing atmospheric concentration of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) by evergreen Rhododendron maximum next to a contaminated stream. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. DOI: 10.1002/etc.3404
Conifers are often used as an “air passive sampler”, but few studies have focused on the implication of broadleaf evergreens to monitor atmospheric semivolatile organic compounds such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). In this study, we used Rhododendron maximum (rhododendron) growing next to a contaminated stream to assess atmospheric PCB concentrations. The study area was located in a rural setting and approximately 2 km downstream of a former Sangamo-Weston (S-W) plant. Leaves from the same mature shrubs were collected in late fall 2010, and winter and spring 2011. PCBs were detected in the collected leaves suggesting that rhododendron can be used as air passive samplers in rural areas where active sampling is impractical. Estimated ΣPCB (47 congeners) concentrations in the atmosphere decreased from fall 2010 to spring 2011 with concentration means at 3990, 2850, and 931 pg m-3 in fall 2010, winter 2011, and spring 2011, respectively. These results indicate that the atmospheric concentrations at this location continue to be high despite termination of active discharge from the former S-W plant. Leaves had a consistent pattern of high concentrations of tetra- and penta-CBs similar to the congener distribution in polyethylene (PE) passive samplers deployed in the water column suggesting that volatilized PCBs from the stream were the primary source of contaminants in rhododendron leaves.