Spatial differences in persistent organochlorine pollutant concentrations between the Bering and Chukchi Seas (1993)

W M Strachan, D A Burniston, M Williamson, H Bohdanowicz
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2001, 43 (1): 132-42
During August-September 1993, a joint Russian-United States expedition to the Bering and Chukchi Seas took place. Surface water samples were collected from 21 sites and separated into dissolved (duplicates) and suspended solids; 19 sediment and 6 air samples were also collected. These samples were analysed for 19 organochlorine pesticides, 11 chlorobenzenes and 113 PCB congeners. The report provides data on selected compounds which occured in > or = 75% of the water samples. Highest water concentrations were observed for HCH in open waters north and south of the Bering Strait, both regions being similar (alpha-HCH; 2.2 ng/L and lindane: 0.35 ng/L). Air levels observed were also constant (alpha-HCH; 0.041 ng/m3, lindane: 0.0093 ng/m3). Suspended solids and air particulares contributed little to the concentrations in their respective media, an observation common to all analytes except for the PCBs and the DDT residues. The sum of PCB concentrations in water were higher in the Bering Sea area compared to the Chukchi Sea (1.0 vrs 0.67 ng/L) and lower for air (0.46 vrs 0.23 ng/m3). Sum of DDT in water was higher in the Bering Sea than in the Chukchi Sea (0.23 vrs 0.15 ng/L) while in sediments and air, the Bering Sea concentrations were lower (0.95 vrs 1.6 ng/g and 36 vrs 56 pg/m3, respectively). Other organochlorine compounds for which data are presented include: pp'-DDE, pp'-DDT, dieldrin, HCB, 3 chlorobenzenes and 3 PCB congeners. Fluxes of all these chemicals through the Berin Strait are estimated; they ranged from 57 t/a (alpha-HCH) through 26 t/a (for sum of PCBs) to 0.2 t/a (pp'-DDE, dieldrin and 1,2,3-trichlorobenzene). Fugacity ratios for the HCHs and PCBs indicate the alpha-HCH is degassing in both the Bering and Chukchi Seas and that the gamma-isomer is degassing in the Bering Sea and is close to equilibrium (weakly absorbing) in the Chuchi Sea; the sum of PCBs are strongly absorbing in both areas.

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