A majority of ongoing monitoring of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is currently focused on chemicals emphasized in the Stockholm Convention. Quantitative detection of other substances (especially those with numerous anthropogenic sources such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)) is, however, also needed since their concentrations are usually several orders of magnitude higher. A goal of this study was to determine how various groups of compounds contribute to total human health risks at the variety of sampling sites in the region of Western Balkan. Distribution of the risks between the gas and particulate phases was also addressed. Results showed that inhalation exposure to organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) does not represent a significant risk to humans, while polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) re-volatilized to the atmosphere from contaminated soils and buildings can pose a problem. PCB evaporation from primary sources (currently used PCB-filled transformers or non-adequate storage facilities) generally resulted in much higher atmospheric concentrations than evaporation from the secondary sources (soils at the sites of war destructions). A majority of the human health risks at the urban sites were associated with PAHs. Between 83 and 94% of the cumulative risk at such sites was assigned to chemicals sorbed to particles, and out of it, PAHs were responsible for 99%. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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