Altitude dependence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in surface soil from Tibetan Plateau, China.
The study of fish concentrations and sediment inventories in 19 European high mountain lakes (40-67 degrees N) shows that a fraction of organochlorine compounds (OCs), the less volatile compounds (LVC; subcooled liquid vapor pressure < or = 10(-2.5) Pa), are trapped in the higher locations. This general trend is not significantly influenced by possible local sources. Compound distribution is related to average air temperatures. The phase-change pseudoenthalpies calculated from the sediment inventories closely match the summed theoretical volatilization and dissolution enthalpies. This fractionation effect is responsible for the accumulation of high concentrations of the LVC, the more persistent and toxic according to literature data, in organisms inhabiting sites far from the locations of synthesis or use.