The objectives of this study were to identify the chlorinated volatile organic compounds near the water surface of two heavily polluted rivers in the south of Taiwan and compare their concentration distributions. Air samples were collected seasonally at the upstream, midstream and downstream water surfaces of each river and the chlorinated volatile organic compounds were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively by gas chromatography and electron capture detector. Totally, twelve kinds of chlorinated volatile organic compounds were found at the water surfaces of both rivers and many of them were reported to be carcinogenic or probably carcinogenic to human. The results showed that each chlorinated volatile organic compound had its own distribution pattern and no good correlation of chlorinated volatile organic compounds between both rivers was obtained. The chlorinated volatile organic compounds identified at the river water surface of Fong Shan Stream showed much higher concentration than those of Chuen-Tsen River. Several chlorinated volatile organic compounds, including chlorodibromomethane, hexachlorobutadiene, 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethene and 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane were found with much higher concentration (mean concentrations of 124.5 Âµg/m3, 334.5 Âµg/m3, 92.2 Âµg/m3, 268.4 Âµg/m3, respectively) at the water surface of Fong Shan Stream in some seasons (especially spring and summer, summer and winter, spring and winter, spring and summer, respectively) and they were reported to be possibly carcinogenic to human. Therefore, it may be concluded that the people living close to Fong Shan Stream possibly had higher health risks due to the release of VOCs from the heavily polluted river.
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