Metal works under spotlight over PCBs and dioxins

A survey of soils and vegetation around smelters and scrap yards has found that many contain unusually high concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Meanwhile, investigations by HM Inspectorate of Pollution (HMIP) at two Derbyshire foundries are suggesting that both may be emitting dioxins. The findings look set to open a new front in the debate about the sources and significance of PCB and dioxin releases to the environment.

The new data on PCB levels around metal processing sites were obtained from a survey carried out by the hazardous waste incineration business ReChem International.1 The soil survey was carried out at 44 locations in April 1992. Foliage samples were taken last October from 18 of these sites for PCB analysis. Most of the samples were taken in the vicinity of smelters, scrap yards and other metal processing works.

The higher PCB l

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