Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 20, pp 20796–20804 | Cite as

Assessing persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the Sicily Island atmosphere, Mediterranean, using PUF disk passive air samplers

  • Karla PozoEmail author
  • Margherita Palmeri
  • Valeria Palmeri
  • Victor H. Estellano
  • Marie D. Mulder
  • Christos I. Efstathiou
  • Gian Luca Sará
  • Teresa Romeo
  • Gerhard Lammel
  • Silvano Focardi
Research Article


In this study, PUF disk passive air samplers were deployed at eight sites, during two sampling periods, on the Island of Sicily in the Mediterranean basin. Samples were screened for a number of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (n = 28 congeners), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) (n = 16 compounds), and polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs n = 28) using GC-MS. PCB concentrations in air ranged ~10–300 pg m−3. The PCB pattern was dominated by lower to middle molecular weight PCBs (Cl3–5) and PCB-28 and PCB-52 were the most abundant congeners. α- and γ-Hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) concentrations in air were relatively high ~420 ± 320 (50–1000) and 460 ± 340 (30–1000) pg m−3, respectively, with an average α/γ ratio of 1 ± 0.5, indicating a tendency of higher use of lindane than of technical HCH. Among DDTs, only p,p′-DDT 90 ± 15 (~10–800) and p,p′-DDE 60 ± 60 (20–400) were frequently detected. DDT/DDE = 0.4–3.0 (1.0 ± 0.7 for both periods) suggesting past and fresh inputs of DDT at the sampling sites. α-Endosulfan, recently included in Annex A of the Stockholm Convention, fluctuated between 120 ± 50 (50–1000) pg m−3. In contrast, PBDE levels were very low (0.2–2 pg m−3). Back trajectories of advection suggest that POP levels are mainly related to local sources (primary or secondary) from Sicily (50–70 % contribution of air masses), Southern Italy, and Sardinia (20 %). This study provides new information for POP levels in the atmosphere of the Mediterranean region.


POPs Passive samplers PUF disks The Island of Sicily Air back trajectories Mediterranean 



This work was financially supported by the National Sustainability Program of the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (LO1214) and the RECETOX research infrastructure (LM2015051). The author also would like to thank Project Fondecyt 1130329 and 1161673 for their partial support. We thank the volunteer participants that have collaborated in the logistical organization and deployment of the passive air samplers. The authors would like to thank Prof. Massimo Pompili (Sapienza, Università di Roma) and Mr. Vander Tumiatti (Sea Marconi Technologies SAS, Torino, Italy) for the PCBs information provided.

Supplementary material

11356_2016_7131_MOESM1_ESM.doc (2.6 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 2612 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karla Pozo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Margherita Palmeri
    • 5
  • Valeria Palmeri
    • 5
  • Victor H. Estellano
    • 1
    • 4
  • Marie D. Mulder
    • 1
  • Christos I. Efstathiou
    • 1
  • Gian Luca Sará
    • 5
  • Teresa Romeo
    • 6
  • Gerhard Lammel
    • 1
    • 7
  • Silvano Focardi
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Science, Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment (RECETOX)Masaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Facultad de CienciasUniversidad Católica de la Santísima ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  3. 3.Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Ambientes Sustentables (CIBAS)Universidad Católica de la Santísima ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  4. 4.Dipartimento Scienze fisiche, della Terra e dell’ambienteUniversitá degli Studi di SienaSienaItaly
  5. 5.Dipartimento della Scienza della Terra e il MareUniversitá degli Studi di PalermoPalermoItaly
  6. 6.Istituto per la Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica Applicata al MareMilazzoItaly
  7. 7.Multiphase Chemistry DepartmentMax Planck Institute for ChemistryMainzGermany

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