Phase association of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Minjiang River Estuary, China

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Journal Article
Science of the Total Environment, 2004, 323 (1-3), pp. 71 - 86
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Persistent organic pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are of great concern due to their persistence, bioaccumulation and toxic effects. In this work the levels of 16 priority PAHs were determined in water, pore water, sediment, soil and vegetable samples from Minjiang River Estuary, China. Total PAH concentrations varied from 9.9 to 474 μg/l in water, 82.1 to 239 μg/l in pore water, 112 to 877 ng/g dry wt. in surficial sediments, 128 to 465 ng/g dry wt. in soil and 8600 to 111000 ng/g dry wt. in Chinese vegetables. Overall, the mean concentrations of PAHs were present in higher levels in pore water than that in surface water, due possibly to higher concentrations of dissolved organic carbon or colloids with which the hydrophobic pollutants were strongly associated. Such a concentration gradient implies a potential flux of pollutants from sediment pore water to overlying water. Contamination was dominated by high molecular mass PAH compounds in all samples, indicating combustion-derived sources (for example, pyrolysis at high temperature). The levels of PAHs in water and vegetable were relatively high in comparison to other studies, although PAHs in sediment and soil were comparable to those found in many other similar environments. The ratios of selected PAHs indicated again that PAHs in Minjiang River Estuary were mainly derived from incomplete combustion of fossil fuel. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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