Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans, and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls in sediments from the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers, China

Lirong Gao, Huiting Huang, Lidan Liu, Cheng Li, Xin Zhou, Dan Xia
Environmental Science and Pollution Research International 2015, 22 (24): 19804-13
Polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are toxic environmental pollutants that are often found in sediments. The Yangtze and Yellow rivers in China are two of the largest rivers in Asia and are therefore important aquatic ecosystems; however, few studies have investigated the PCDD/F and PCB content in the sediments of these rivers. Accordingly, this study was conducted to generate baseline data for future environmental risk assessments. In the present study, 26 surface sediments from the middle reaches of the Yellow and Yangtze rivers were analyzed for PCDD/Fs and dioxin-like (dl) PCBs by high-resolution gas chromatography and high-resolution mass spectrometry. The ranges of PCDD/F, dl-PCB, and WHO-TEQ content in sediments from the Yellow River were 2.1-19.8, 1.11-9.9, and 0.08-0.57 pg/g (dry weight), respectively. The ranges of PCDD/F, dl-PCB, and WHO-TEQ content in sediments from the Yangtze River were 6.1-84.9, 1.8-24.1, and 0.13-0.29 pg/g (dry weight), respectively. Total organic carbon and dl-PCB contents in the Yellow River were significantly correlated (Spearman's correlation coefficient, r = 0.64, P < 0.05). It is well known that total organic carbon plays a role in the transport and redistribution of dl-PCB. Principal component analysis indicated that PCDD/Fs may arise from pentachlorophenol, sodium pentachlorophenate, and atmospheric deposition, while dl-PCBs likely originate from burning of coal and wood for domestic heating. The dioxin levels in the river sediments examined in this study were relatively low. These findings advance our knowledge regarding eco-toxicity and provide useful information regarding contamination sources.

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