Atmospheric input of POPs into Lake Maggiore (Northern Italy): PCDD/F and dioxin-like PCB profiles and fluxes in the atmosphere and aquatic system

J Castro-Jiménez, G Mariani, S J Eisenreich, E H Christoph, G Hanke, E Canuti, H Skejo, G Umlauf
Chemosphere 2008, 73 (1 Suppl): S122-30
The delivery and accumulation of PCDD/Fs and dioxin-like PCBs (DL-PCBs) as recorded in sediments from the Lake Maggiore (LM) in Northern Italy and the influence of the atmosphere in contaminating this subalpine ecosystem were studied. PCDD/Fs (17 congeners) and DL-PCBs (12 congeners) concentrations, congener profiles and fluxes in air, bulk deposition, aquatic settling material and surface sediments are presented. Our strategy was to obtain surface sediment from areas near riverine inputs and in the depositional basins, settling material in sediment traps at one site and air, aerosol and bulk deposition profiles. PCDD/F concentrations in air of 25 WHO-TEQ fg m(-3) and DL-PCBs of 7 WHO-TEQ fg m(-3) were measured. Bulk atmospheric deposition yielded 140 and 28 WHO-TEQ pg m(-2) per week for dioxins/furans and DL-PCBs, respectively. Aquatic settling material exhibited concentrations of 11 WHO-TEQ pg g(-1) for PCDD/Fs and 2 WHO-TEQ pg g(-1) for DL-PCBs. Weekly settling material fluxes of 50 WHO-TEQ pg m(-2) and 10 WHO-TEQ pg m(-2) were obtained for PCDD/Fs and DL-PCBs, respectively. PCDD/Fs concentrations in surface sediments varied from 0.1 to 17 WHO-TEQ pg g(-1) whereas values ranged from 0.03 to 6 WHO-TEQ pg g(-1) for DL-PCBs. The concentrations obtained in the environmental compartments studied suggest a situation of low level contamination. PCDD/Fs and DL-PCBs congener profiles in atmospheric air, bulk deposition, aquatic settling matter and surface sediment point to an important if not dominant contribution from atmospheric deposition to Lake Maggiore, especially derived from wet deposition of aerosol-bound PCDD/Fs and DL-PCBs. Flux estimates support this hypothesis.

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