Effects of river flooding on PCDD/F and PCB levels in cows' milk, soil, and grass

Iain R. Lake, Christopher D. Foxall, Andrew A. Lovett, Alwyn Fernandes, Alan Dowding, Shaun White, Martin Rose

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25 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the results of a study examining whether the flooding of pasture by rivers gives rise to higher PCDD/F and PCB concentrations in cows' milk. Over 180 milk, soil, and grass samples, taken from 38 farms across 3 different river systems (River Dee, Trent, and Doe Lea/Rother/Don) in the United Kingdom, were analyzed for PCDO/Fs and PCBs. The concentrations were compared between flood-prone farms, where the animals had access to pasture that is often flooded, and control farms where the land does not flood. The results indicated that concentrations of PCDD/Fs and PCBs in cows' milk were higher in samples taken from farms prone to flooding, but only from the river systems flowing through industrial and urban areas. Raised levels of PCDD/F and PCBs were also found in soil and grass from farms prone to flooding providing strong corroborative evidence that the higher concentrations in cows' milk from such areas is likely to be due to the ingestion of contaminated grass and soil. Overall, the results provide strong evidence that flooding of pastureland can indeed result in elevated concentrations of PCDD/Fs and PCBs in milk from the farms so affected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9033-9038
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number23
Early online date28 Oct 2005
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005

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