Fate and Transfer of Semivolatile Organic Compounds in a Multi-Compartment Environment

  • Rajasekhar BalasubramanianEmail author
  • Jun He
Part of the Environmental Science and Engineering book series (ESE)


Semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) comprise many priority pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These pollutants can be introduced into the environment via the atmosphere, for example, in the emissions of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (e.g. PAHs), out-gassing from pollutant-containing media such as paints, transformers and capacitors etc. (e.g. PCBs) and by spraying onto soils and vegetation (e.g. OCPs). They are of significant concern due to their carcinogenicity and mutagenicity, and are subject to bioaccumulation in the lipid fraction of biological tissues, thus leading to their biomagnification in the environmental system (Holsen and Noll, 1992). Once released into the atmosphere, these pollutants can be transported by atmospheric movement over the Earth’s surface and can be found far from any sources in media such as waters, soils, biota or even ice-cores (Kawamura et al. 1994; Wania 1994; Muir et al. 1996). In order to assess potential risks of these pollutants for the natural environment and human health, it is important to understand the fate and distribution of these pollutants after they are introduced into the environment.


Elemental Carbon Total Suspended Particle Rainwater Sample Semivolatile Organic Compound Rain Droplet 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Environmental Science and EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeRepublic of Singapore

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