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Associated topic: persistent organic pollutants

Emissions monitoring period: since 1990

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017


Sources of the pollutant

Polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs) are produced by human activities and particularly by electric steelmaking plants, biomass combustion and waste incineration.


Effect of the pollutant

Exposure to PCBs in high doses (accidental releases, workplace activities) can cause skin and eye disorders. PCBs are classified as endocrine disruptors and probable carcinogens; effects have been reported on respiratory, gastro-intestinal, kidney and endocrine functions. PCBs also have neurotoxic effects.


Classification of sub-sectors* with the highest emission levels in 2015

Classification Sub-sectors Share of sub-sector in total national emissions in mainland France
1 Ferrous metals production including: 46% including:
Electric furnace steel plant 40%
Sinter and pelletizing plant 6.0%
2 Residential sector 23%
3 Electricity production 11%
4 Tertiary sector 4.2%
5 Non-metallic minerals, building materials 4.2%

*: one sector out of six (energy transformation, manufacturing industry, residential/tertiary, agriculture/forestry, road transport and other transport) is broken down into sub-sectors.


Emissions and trends

Minimum observed: 46 kg in 2015
Maximum observed: 183 kg in 1990
Emissions in 2015: 46 kg
Trends 2015/1990: -74.8%
Trends 2015/maximum: -74.8%
Trends 2015/minimum: 0%

Measurement unit: kg (kilogramme)
Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Graph PCB 17

Graph Legende sans UTCFv2

Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Tab PCB 17

(*) Following UNECE/NEC definitions : emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international maritime, emissions from domestic and international air transport cruise (≥ 1000 m), emissions from agriculture and forestry biogenic sources and emissions from non-anthropogenic sources.
(e) preliminary estimate



Three sectors contribute significantly to PCB (polychlorobiphenyl) emissions, contributions in the other sectors are low (<0.5%), and sometimes nil as in road transport. The main PCB- emitting sector is... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password)

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017