, Volume 20, Issue 12, pp 8751-8762
Date: 02 Jun 2013

Occurrence, possible sources, and temporal trends of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans in water and sediment from the lower Yangtze River basin, Jiangsu and Shanghai areas of Eastern China

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The concentrations, compositional profiles, and possible sources of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/PCDF) in water column and surface sediment samples from the lower reaches of the Yangtze River were investigated, and the potential risks posed by these chemicals were evaluated. Concentrations of the 17 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDD/PCDF in the water and sediment samples ranged from 0.45 to 10.0 pg TEQ/L (mean 2.34 pg TEQ/L) and from 0.31 to 51 pg TEQ/g dw (mean 5.25 pg TEQ/g dw), respectively. Water and sediments from the Nanjing–Nantong sections of the Yangtze River were found to have elevated PCDD/PCDF levels, and the PCDD/PCDF TEQ concentrations in 13 sediment samples exceeded the probable effect levels (PEL), above which adverse biological effects are likely. Multivariate statistical analysis indicated that the principal PCDD/PCDF contamination source for the water and sediment was the production and use of pentachlorophenol (PCP) or sodium pentachlorophenate (PCP-Na). PCDD/PCDF concentrations were stable over time near the Yangtze River Estuary but had increased sharply in recent decades in the Nanjing–Nantong section, which will have been related to the growth in industrial activities and other anthropogenic PCDD/PCDF sources. Total organic carbon (TOC) and PCDD/PCDF concentrations correlated significantly (R = 0.474, P < 0.01), suggesting that TOC plays an important role in the transport and re-distribution of PCDD/PCDF in the Yangtze River basin.

Responsible Editor: Ester Heath