Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in road-deposited sediments, water sediments, and soils in Sydney, Australia: Comparisons of concentration distribution, sources and potential toxicity

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 2014, 104 (1), pp. 339 - 348
Issue Date:
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Sixteen polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) considered as priority environmental pollutants were analysed in surface natural soils (NS), road-deposited sediments (RDS), and water sediments (WS) at Kogarah in Sydney, Australia. Comparisons were made of their concentration distributions, likely sources and potential toxicities. The concentrations (mg/kg) in NS, RDS, and WS ranged from 0.40 to 7.49 (mean 2.80), 1.65 to 4.00 (mean 2.91), and 0.49 to 5.19 (mean 1.76), respectively. PAHs were dominated by relatively high molecular weight compounds with more than three fused benzene rings, indicating that high temperature combustion processes were their predominant sources. The proportions of high molecular weight PAHs with five or six fused benzene rings were higher in NS than in RDS, whereas the low molecular weight PAHs were higher in RDS. Concentrations of all PAHs compounds were observed to be the lowest in WS. The concentrations of most of the high molecular weight PAHs significantly correlated with each other in RDS and WS. All PAHs (except naphthalene) were significantly correlated in NS suggesting a common PAH source. Ratios for individual diagnostic PAHs demonstrated that the primary source of PAHs in WS and NS was of pyrogenic origin (combustion of petroleum (vehicle exhaust), grass, and wood) while in RDS it was petrogenic (i.e. unburned or leaked fuel and oil, road asphalt, and tyre particles) as well as pyrogenic. The potential toxicities of PAHs calculated using a toxicity equivalent quotient (TEQ) were all low but higher for NS compared to WS and RDS. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.
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