Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 166-174

First online:

Spatial Distribution of Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Coastal Marine Sediments Receiving Industrial Effluents in Kuwait

  • Bondi GevaoAffiliated withKuwait Institute for Scientific Research Email author 
  • , Mirza U BegAffiliated withKuwait Institute for Scientific Research
  • , Ali Al-OmairAffiliated withKuwait Institute for Scientific Research
  • , Murad HelalehAffiliated withKuwait Institute for Scientific Research
  • , Jamal ZafarAffiliated withKuwait Institute for Scientific Research

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The concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were measured in surficial sediments receiving industrial and municipal effluents in Kuwait. The ΣPCB concentrations varied by two orders of magnitude ranging from 0.4 to 84 μg kg−1 dw. The homologue distribution in the study favored the more chlorinated congeners and generally followed the order: penta-PCBs > hexa-PCBs > tetra-PCBs ≈ hepta-PCBs, with the dominant congeners being 138, 101, 110, 180, 153, 132, 149, and 118. The spatial distribution revealed significant intersite difference in concentration, with high levels encountered close to a harbor and several wastewater outlets suggesting that point source input is the primary delivery mechanism of PCBs to the sediment. This study suggests that atmospheric deposition of PCBs may not be a significant delivery mechanism to sediments in Kuwait possibly due to low annual precipitation and high annual temperatures that are experienced in the Arabian Gulf. The implication of this observation is that PCBs in air are likely to remain in the gas phase long enough to be subject to long-range atmospheric transport to other regions.