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Review of the Potential for Waste Solvents, from Current or Historic Disposal Sites, to Enter the Food Chain


Historically, toxic chlorinated solvents have sometimes been disposed of in drum graves, unlined landfill sites, or evaporation lagoons. Accidental spillages and leaks have also resulted in chlorinated solvents being released to land. <p>Chlorinated aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons often tend to be persistent once they enter soil or the underlying bedrock and groundwater. Consequently, crops and livestock raised close to sites where chlorinated solvents have been released could become exposed to these contaminants. This project will provide a literature review of the potential for short chain chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons and chlorinated benzenes to accumulate in the terrestrial food chain.

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The literature review will focus on trichloroethane, trichloroethene, tetrachloroethene, hexachlorobutadiene, chlorinated propenes and chlorinated benzenes. However, relevant information about other chlorinated solvents will also be included in the report if they are identified as significant contaminants of either the waste disposal sites or the environment. <p>Initially, published information on the physicochemical properties, the patterns of use and the environmental fate of each of these chlorinated hydrocarbons will be collated. Information on the transfer and uptake mechanisms and the bioavailability of chlorinated solvents by crops and livestock will also be collated and the potential for any of the contaminants to persist and bioaccumulate in biota will be reviewed. Finally, various approaches that could be considered for modelling the movement of these waste solvents through the environment and into the food chain will be reviewed.
Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="; target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.

WS Atkins
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