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Long-range Air Transport of Dioxin from North American Sources to Ecologically Vulnerable Receptors in Nunavut, Arctic Canada

Long-range Air Transport of Dioxin from North American Sources to Ecologically Vulnerable Receptors in Nunavut, Arctic Canada

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Published by Paul Bartlett
This study, commissioned by the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (NACEC) and conducted by the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems (CBNS), set out to model on a continental scale the rates of deposition of airborne dioxin (polychlorinated dibenzop-
dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans, PCDD/PCDF) in the new Canadian polar territory of Nunavut and to identify the major contributing North American sources.
This study, commissioned by the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (NACEC) and conducted by the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems (CBNS), set out to model on a continental scale the rates of deposition of airborne dioxin (polychlorinated dibenzop-
dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans, PCDD/PCDF) in the new Canadian polar territory of Nunavut and to identify the major contributing North American sources.

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Published by: Paul Bartlett on Feb 07, 2013
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Figure 3.1 describes the deposition flux at each of the sites for both land and marine receptors.
The same data are displayed in Table 3.1 to describe the relative contributions of the sources in
the three countries to deposition at the various Nunavut receptors. Certain useful generalizations
can be drawn from these data. First, deposition to the marine receptors averages twice the
deposition to the adjacent land receptors. This is a common phenomenon and is due to the high
receptivity of water to dioxin in the particulate form in comparison to land, where only a fraction
of particulate dioxin coming into contact with vegetation and other surfaces will remain in place.

Second, there is a gradient in deposition with latitude; for example, deposition at the southern-
most receptor, Sanikiluaq, is about 10 times greater than at Arctic Bay, the northern-most
receptor. There is a similar west to east gradient in deposition; thus, the deposition flux at
Broughton Island, the eastern-most site, is about twice as great as it is at the western-most site,
Ikaluktutiak. These gradients reflect the geographic and meteorological influences on the
relationship between the receptors and the major sources of dioxin (see section 3.4 below). The
deposition values of the different receptors are reliable despite uncertainties about the precise
amounts of deposition at each of them, which generally have the same effect on all the receptors.

Finally, as shown in Figure 3.2, the contribution of the emissions from the several countries to
deposition at a typical Nunavut land receptor, Coral Harbour, differ considerably. The bulk of the
deposition flux, 82 percent, is due to U.S. sources; Canadian sources contribute 11 percent and
Mexican sources seven percent. The contributions to the deposition at the Coral Harbour marine
receptor are 78 percent, 17 percent, and five percent respectively.

It is also of interest to compare the various source classes with respect to their proportional
contributions to both emissions and to deposition at a typical receptor. This is shown, in the case
of the Coral Harbour land receptor, in Figure 3.3. The depositions at the receptor are
approximately proportional to the emissions from each of the source classes. This is equally true
of the emissions from sources in Canada, the United States and Mexico, despite their
considerably different average distances from Nunavut. This result is in contrast with an earlier
study of air transport of dioxin from U.S. and Canadian sources to dairy farms in Vermont and
Wisconsin (CBNS/NEEPC, 1998). For example, at a farm in southeastern Wisconsin, while
emissions from municipal waste incinerators accounted for 48 percent of total emissions from all

32

33

Table 3.1. Contribution of Sources in Canada, USA and Mexico to

Dioxin Deposition Flux at Nunavut Receptors Annual Rate

August 1996-June 1997

Deposition Flux (pg TEQ/m2

-year*)

Percent TEQ

Receptor

Type

Total

CAN

USA

MEX

CAN

USA

MEX

marine

11.3

2.8

7.9

0.6

25.1

69.9

5.0

Ikaluktutiak

land

4.5

0.9

3.3

0.3

19.5

73.2

7.3

marine

26.3

5.5

19.4

1.4

20.8

74.0

5.2

Chesterfield Inlet**

wZJoZ]3J4

land

11.7

1.8

9.1

0.8

15.2

78.1

6.8

marine

32.2

5.4

25.2

1.6

16.8

78.3

4.9

Coral Harbour

n9o]5

land

19.2

2.2

15.8

1.3

11.4

82.0

6.6

marine

111.9

16.1

90.5

5.4

14.3

80.8

4.8

Sanikiluaq

ni rl x34

land

53.5

5.7

43.5

4.2

10.7

81.4

7.9

marine

16.2

2.7

12.3

1.2

16.6

75.7

7.7

Broughton Island

3rr3b3Jx34

land

8.9

1.3

6.8

0.8

14.5

76.2

9.2

marine

13.4

2.5

10.1

0.8

18.4

75.4

6.2

Igloolik

w4l o4

land

7.0

1.0

5.5

0.6

14.2

77.8

8.0

marine

46.7

7.8

36.5

2.5

16.6

78.1

5.2

Iqaluit

w3vl w5

land

25.9

3.5

20.8

1.6

13.6

80.3

6.1

marine

7.9

1.4

5.8

0.6

18.3

73.9

7.8

Arctic Bay

w4Wx3J4

land

4.0

0.6

3.0

0.4

14.2

75.8

10.1

*These are mid-range estimates. High and low values due to range of emission factors are shown in the
Appendix.

**The Chesterfield Inlet (wZJoZ]3J4) marine receptor deposition flux is a derived estimate.

34

Figure 3.2 Contribution of Sources in Canada, United States and Mexico

to Dioxin Deposition at Coral Harbour Receptors

35

CANADA

52.1

3.9

0.8

11.8

7.0

11.0

2.4

1.3

1.2

2.9

0.1

2.9

0.6

1.9

4.4

0.9

15.9

11.2

3.1

2.0

1.9

3.9

0.1

3.8

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

37.9

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

12.2

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

M

S

W

M

W

I

C

e

m

e

n

t

-

K

F

e

-

S

B

B

S

e

c

-

C

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-

S

m

S

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-

A

l

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m

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S

m

W

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M

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i

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C

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-

R

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P

P

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Percent of Total

percent total emissions-Canada

percent dep flux-Canada

USA

34.0

17.6

14.1

9.1

7.7

6.5

2.9

2.3

2.1

1.4

0.8

0.7

0.4

0.2

0.2

0.1

0.1

19.4

17.8

11.4

5.8

3.7

2.5

2.0

1.6

0.7

0.8

0.3

0.2

0.2

0.1

0

0

0

0

0

0

23.0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

10.3

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

M

S

W

M

W

I

C

e

m

e

n

t

-

K

F

e

-

S

B

B

S

e

c

-

C

u

-

S

m

S

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c

-

A

l

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m

-

S

m

W

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M

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C

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-

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u

e

l

-

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S

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c

-

C

u

-

R

e

f

R

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O

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P

P

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t

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m

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-

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C

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m

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-

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I

n

d

-

F

u

e

l

-

C

A

g

-

F

u

e

l

-

C

Percent of Total

percent total emissions-USA

percent dep flux-USA

MEXICO

1.0

28.6

1.7

55.7

12.2

0.3

0.4

4.8

9.9

0.4

0.7

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

00

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

58.4

25.8

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

M

S

W

M

W

I

C

e

m

e

n

t

-

K

F

e

-

S

B

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I

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d

-

F

u

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-

C

A

g

-

F

u

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l

-

C

Percent of Total

percent total emissions-Mexico

percent dep flux-Mexico

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