JOURNAL ARTICLE

Characterization, sources, and potential risk assessment of PAHs in surface sediments from nearshore and farther shore zones of the Yangtze estuary, China

Ying Wang, Xue Li, Baohua H Li, Zhenyao Y Shen, Chenghong H Feng, Yaxin X Chen
Environmental Science and Pollution Research International 2012, 19 (9): 4148-58
22585391
The assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) contamination in surface sediments from the Yangtze estuary which is a representative area affected by anthropogenic activity (rapid industrialization, high-population density, and construction of dams upstream) in the world was systematically conducted. Fifty-one samples were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The ∑PAHs in all sediments varied from 76.9 to 2,936.8 ng g(-1). Compared with other estuaries in the world, the PAH levels in the Yangtze estuary are low to moderate. Phenanthrene, acenaphthylene, fluoranthene, and pyrene were relatively abundant. The ∑PAH levels and composition varied obviously in different estuarine zones due to different sources. The highest ∑PAHs concentration was observed in the nearshore of Chongming Island. The PAH composition showed that four to six ring PAHs were mainly found in the nearshore areas, while two to three ring PAHs were in the farther shore zones. The PAHs in the Yangtze estuary were derived primarily from combustion sources. A mixture of petroleum combustion and biomass combustion mainly from coal combustion and vehicle emission was the main source of PAHs from the nearshore areas, while the spill, volatilization, or combustion of petroleum from shipping process and shoreside discharge were important for PAHs in the farther shore areas. The result of potential ecotoxicological risk assessment based on sediment quality guidelines indicated low PAH ecological risk in the Yangtze estuary. The study could provide foundation for the protection of water quality of the Yangtze estuary by inducing main sources input.

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