Organic persistent toxic substances in soils, waters and sediments along an altitudinal gradient at Mt. Sagarmatha, Himalayas, Nepal

Licia Guzzella, Giulia Poma, Adolfo De Paolis, Claudio Roscioli, Gaetano Viviano
Environmental Pollution 2011, 159 (10): 2552-64
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are important classes of compounds of serious environmental concern. These compounds were measured in waters, sediments and soils from several high altitude sites in the Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal) and included in the Himalayan ridge. In water samples, low-level substituted PCBs and PBDEs, along with more volatile PAHs, were the most common contaminants. In sediment and soil samples, the PCB profile was mainly composed of medium-level chlorinated congeners and significantly correlated with altitude. The PAH profile for water and soil samples showed the main contribution of pyrogenic PAHs due to emissions of solid combustion, whereas the profile for sediments indicated the main contribution of pyrogenic PAHs from gasoline emissions. The PAH levels measured in Himalayan samples must be considered as low to medium contaminated, whereas the regarded Himalayan stations can be considered undisturbed remote areas concerning PCB, PBDE and OC compounds.

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