Distribution, origin, and potential toxicological significance of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in sediments of Kaohsiung Harbor, Taiwan

Chiu-Wen Chen, Chih-Feng Chen
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2011, 63 (5-12): 417-23
Sediment samples were collected from 12 locations of Kaohsiung Harbor, Taiwan and analyzed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Total PAH concentrations varied from 472 to 16,201 ng g(-1) dry weight. The highest PAH concentrations were from the industrial zone docks situated in south Kaohsiung Harbor. Diagnostic ratios showed that the possible source of PAHs in the industrial zone dock could be coal combustion while in the other zones it could be petroleum combustion. The toxic equivalent concentrations (TEQcarc) of PAHs varied from 55 to 1964 ng TEQ g(-1) dry weight. Higher total TEQcarc values were found at industrial zone docks (from 1404 to 1964 ng TEQ g(-1) dry weight). As compared with the US Sediment Quality Guidelines (SQGs), the observed levels of PAHs at industrial zone docks exceeded the effects range low (ERL), and could thus cause acute biological damage. However, the lower levels of PAHs at the other zones would probably not exert adverse biological effects.

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