Concentrations and geographic distribution of selected organic pollutants in Scottish surface soils

S. M. Rhind, C. E. Kyle, C. Kerr, M. Osprey, Z. L. Zhang (Lead / Corresponding author), E. I. Duff, A. Lilly, A. Nolan, G. Hudson, W. Towers, J. Bell, M. Coull, C. McKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Concentrations of selected persistent organic pollutants (POPs) representing three chemical classes (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and the organic pollutant diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), were determined in surface soil samples (0-5 cm) collected at 20 km grid intersects throughout Scotland over a three-year period. Detectable amounts of all chemical classes and most individual congeners were present in all samples. There were no consistent effects of soil or vegetation type, soil carbon content, pH, altitude or distance from centres of population on concentrations which exhibited extreme variation, even in adjacent samples. It is concluded that soil POPs and DEHP concentrations and associated rates of animal and human exposure were highly variable, influenced by multiple, interacting factors, and not clearly related to local sources but possibly related to wet atmospheric deposition and the organic carbon content of the soil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Early online date25 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Diethylhexyl phthalate
  • Endocrine disrupting compounds
  • Geographic variation
  • Persistent organic pollutants
  • Soil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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