Wide-spread leakage of PCBs in Africa

Africa   Global2

Analytical results on PCBs in pellets from Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia have just come.  These samples were collected by IPEN (International Pollutants Elimination Network; with whom IPW has been collaborating since last year.  PCB concentratDSCF1745ions (sum of 13 congeners) ranged from 5 to 3384 ng/g-pellets. Except for Kenya, PCB concentrations for all the African countries (18 ng/g – 3384 ng/g) exceeded global background level (10 ng/g).  Especially, samples from Senegal and Tunisia were higher or comparable to pollution levels for industrialized countries such as western European countries, USA, and Japan.  There must be local sources of PCBs in the countries.  They did not produce nor use PCBs for their economic growth.  As we previously demonstrated in the case study in Ghana1), PCBs could be derived from e-waste scrapyard.  Another potential source is leakage of PCBs from second-hand electric equipment imported from industrialized countries.  We need more samples from each country.

1) Hosoda, J., Ofosu-Anim, J., Sabi, E.B., Akita, L.G., Onwona-Agyeman, S., Yamashita, R., and Takada, H., 2014. “Monitoring of organic micropollutants in Ghana by combination of pellet watch with sediment analysis: E-waste as a source of PCBs.” Marine Pollution Bulletin  86, 575-581.