Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 491–506 | Cite as

Distribution and bioaccumulation of lead in the coastal watersheds of the Northern Bohai and Yellow Seas in China

  • Peiru Kong
  • Wei LuoEmail author
  • Yonglong Lu
  • Tieyu Wang
  • Wentao Jiao
  • Wenyou Hu
  • Jonathan E. Naile
  • Jong Seong Khim
  • John P. Giesy
Original Paper


In this study, the concentration of lead ([Pb]) in the surface water, sediments, soils and muscles of carp and crab in the upstream and downstream coastal watersheds along the Northern Bohai and Yellow Seas (NBYS) in China was investigated and the risks of Pb were evaluated. The mean [Pb] in the downstream water (2.62 μg/L) and sediments [24.5 mg/kg, dry mass (dm)] was greater than the Chinese seawater quality standard for class I (1 μg/L) and the regional background soil concentration (11.5 mg Pb/kg, dm), respectively. Approximately 37 % of the soils, mainly from the upstream regions, had [Pb] greater than the regional background concentration of 21.4 mg/kg, dm. The sites with relatively large [Pb] in the water, sediments and soils were located in the coastal watersheds of Tangshan and Huludao. The large enrichment factors in the sediments (2.41) and soils (2.22) suggested that human activities influenced the soils and sediments in this region more than in the other regions. Relatively large [Pb] was found in the crabs that were obtained from the upstream reaches of the Shuanglong and Daliao Rivers and the downstream reaches of the Luanhe and Liugu Rivers. Most of the crabs from the upstream regions contained greater [Pb] than the permissible limit for human consumption [0.3 mg/kg, wet mass (wm)]. The risk indices of the water, carp and crabs for humans were 0.002, 0.01 and 0.006, respectively. Based on the bioaccumulation factors, biota-sediment accumulation factors (BSAFs) and human risk indices, it was concluded that the human risks associated with crab were lower than those of carp despite the greater accumulation of Pb by the crabs from the water and sediments. Finally, the [Pb] in the sediments was significantly correlated with the [Pb] in the soils, which indicated that the same sources of Pb were responsible for the [Pb] in the sediments and soils in the coastal watersheds of the NBYS in China.


Pollution Watersheds Enrichment factor Human Risk index Asia 



This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant Nos. 41271502 and 41071355, National Fundamental Field Study Program with Grant No. 2013FY111100, Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Grant No. XDB03030504, the National International S&T Cooperation Program under Grant No. 2012DFA91150, the Einstein Professorship Program, CAS, and the Project of the State Key Lab of Urban and Regional Ecology with Grant No. SKLURE2008-1-04. Portions of the research were supported by a Discovery Grant from the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Project No. 6807).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peiru Kong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wei Luo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yonglong Lu
    • 1
  • Tieyu Wang
    • 1
  • Wentao Jiao
    • 1
  • Wenyou Hu
    • 1
  • Jonathan E. Naile
    • 3
  • Jong Seong Khim
    • 3
  • John P. Giesy
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.State Key Lab of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences and Toxicology CentreUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  4. 4.Department of Zoology, Center for Integrative ToxicologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  5. 5.Department of Biology and Chemistry and State Key Laboratory in Marine PollutionCity University of Hong KongHong Kong, SARChina

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