Panel data analysis of environmental PCB in Japan: national and local concentration trends

Koshiba, J.; Hirai, Y.; Sakai, S. (2018) Proceedings of 38th International Symposium on Halogenated Persistent Organic Pollutants, pp. 500-503

Introduction: PCB (Polychlorinated Biphenyl) is listed in Annex A "Elimination" and Annex C
"Unintentional Production" of The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (1. Therefore,
it is essential to understand and develop countermeasures against PCB pollution conditions. In Japan,
the Ministry of the Environment has been conducting a survey on the presence of chemicals including
PCB in the general environment since 1974; the results of this survey are published in "Chemicals in the
Environment" every year (2. In addition, JESCO (Japan Environmental Storage & Safety Corporation)
has been undertaking a project on PCB waste treatment since 2004 (3.
Numerous studies have been conducted on the environmental fate of PCB on a global scale. Breivik et
al. estimated the historical global PCB production, consumption, and emission by taking into
consideration its mass balance (4. Li et al. quantified the global PCB emissions using a dynamic substance
flow model (5. However, only a few studies focusing on the environmental fate of PCB or its
concentration trends on a national scale have been conducted.
In addition, some studies have investigated the air pollution caused by PCB on a local scale. For example,
Diefenbacher et al. showed that the air PCB concentration measured in areas within a radius of 150-200
m of a housing complex where joint sealants containing PCB were used was higher than that in the other
areas of the same city (6. In Japan, most of such contaminated buildings are likely to have been built on
or before 1972, because both the production and the use of PCB were banned in 1972. Therefore, it can
be assumed that the air PCB concentration in the areas within a radius of several hundred m of the old
buildings is likely to be higher than that in the areas close to new buildings. In this study, the buildings
that were built on or before 1972 are referred to as "old buildings," whereas the buildings that have been
built after 1972 are referred to as "new buildings."
The objective of this study was to understand the recent PCB pollution condition in Japan via panel data
analysis of the results of a monitoring survey conducted by the Ministry of the Environment. First, the
national PCB concentration trends in air, water, and sediment were estimated. Second, the PCB
concentration trends on a local scale were estimated by taking into consideration the year in which the
sampling sites were built.