Risks posed by trace organic contaminants in coastal sediments in the Pearl River Delta, China
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Local marine environments in China's Pearl River Delta (PRD), the most rapidly developing region in one of the world's fastest growing economies, have been experiencing significant environmental stress during the past decades. This investigation was conducted to determine the status and trends of persistence organic pollutants (POPs) such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine (OC) pesticides and dioxin-related compounds in marine sediments collected from sixteen coastal stations in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) in March 2003. Elevated concentrations of PAHs (94-4300 ng/g), PCBs (6.0-290 ng/g), PHCs (14-150 姯g), and DDTs (1.4-600 ng/g) were detected in sediment samples. In addition, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)-like activities in the sediment samples were estimated to range from 0.3 to 440 pg TCDD-EQ/g. Sediments collected from Xiashan contained the greatest concentrations of trace organic contaminations amongst all the sampling stations in the present study. The degree of trace organic contamination was, in general, more severe at stations situated along the west shores of the PRD than their counterparts in the east. A preliminary assessment was performed to examine the probable risks to the marine ecosystem due to POPs. The results showed that OC pesticide contamination in the PRD was particularly serious and might pose a threat to the health of the marine inhabitants.
Marine Pollution Bulletin
© 2005 Elsevier : Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher : This journal is available online - use hypertext links.