Abstract We used XAD-resin based passive air samplers (PAS) to measure atmospheric levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at five ombrotrophic bogs in Eastern Canada. The aims of our study were to investigate the influence of local roads on contaminant levels in the bogs, to derive the regional pattern of atmospheric concentrations, and to assess the uncertainties of the method. Expanded uncertainties based on the duplicate PAS deployed at 24 sites were good for the PAHs, while the deployment period of approx. 100 days was too short to yield acceptable uncertainties for PCBs. The regional PAH distribution was in good agreement with the calculated source proximity of the sampled bogs. We conclude that XAD-resin based PAS deployed for comparatively short periods are well suited for measuring atmospheric concentrations of volatile PAHs, while in remote regions longer deployment is necessary for less volatile PAHs and for PCBs.