Are Reductions in Industrial Organic Contaminants Emissions in Rich Countries Achieved Partly by Export of Toxic Wastes?

Recent studies show that PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) air concentrated remains surprisingly high in parts of Africa and Asia. These are regions where PCBs were never extensively used, but which are implicated as recipients of obsolete products and wastes contagious PCBs and other industrial organism contaminants, such as halogenated flame retardants (HFRs). In this study, the authors hypothesise that there may be different trends in emissions across the globe, whereby emissions of some industrial organism contaminants may be decreasing faster in former use regions (due to emission reductions combined with uncontrolled export), at the expense of regions receiving these substances as obsolete products and wastes. The authors concluded that the potential for detrimental effects on the environment and human health due to long-range transport by air, water, or wastes should be of equal concern when managing and regulating industrial organism contaminants. This calls for a better integration of life-cycle approaches in the management and regulation of industrial organism contaminants in order to protect environmental and human health on a global scale. Yet, little remains known about the amount of industrial organism contaminants exported outside former use regions as different types of wastes because of the often illicit nature of these operations.

Authors: Breivik, Knut; Gioia, Rosalinda; Chakraborty, Paromita; Zhang, Gan; Jones, Kevin C. ;Full Source: Environmental Science & Technology 2011, ACS ASAP (English) ;