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PAHs in water and surface sediments from Douro River estuary and Porto Atlantic coast (Portugal)—impacts on human health

  • Maria João RochaEmail author
  • José Luís Dores-Sousa
  • Catarina Cruzeiro
  • Eduardo Rocha
Article

Abstract

This study investigated the presence of 16 priority polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAHs) in waters from the Douro River estuary and nearby Atlantic seacoast, which both bath the Porto metropolis. In the area, there is an oil refinery, an important harbour, an intense maritime traffic, small marinas and highly inhabited cities. For the analysis of PAHs, water samples were taken from four sampling sites, at six different times of the year (2011), and extracted by solid-phase extraction (dissolved fraction) and by ultrasound technique (suspended fraction), before their quantification by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Results not only proved the ubiquitous distribution of all analysed PAHs in the present habitat, but also that their global amounts (∑16PAHs) were extremely high at all sampling sites. Their average concentrations attained ≈ 55 ng/L and ≈ 52 μg/g dry weight (dw), respectively, in water and surface sediments. Accordingly, the surveyed area was classified as highly polluted by these organics and so, in view of the concentrations, mutagenic/carcinogenic responses in both humans and aquatic animals are possible to occur. The percentages of carcinogenic PAHs for humans (group 1) dissolved in water and in surface sediments were ca. 5 and 6%, respectively. These results are the first reported in the area and can be used as a baseline for future control of the PAHs levels locally while serving the building of global scenarios of PAHs pollution in Europe.

Graphical abstract

Percentage of PAHs, from different categories acordingly to WHO (2016), in both surface sediments and surface waters from Douro River estuary and Porto Atlantic seacoast; group 1 - carcinogenic, group 2A - probably carcinogenic, group 2B - possibly carcinogenic, and group 3 - not classifiable as carcinogenic to humans

Keywords

GC–MS PAHs Oil refinery Harbour Marina Organic pollution sources 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was partially supported by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through COMPETE—Operational Competitiveness Programme and POPH—Operational Human Potential Programme and national funds through FCT—Foundation for Science and Technology, under the Strategic Funding UID/Multi/04423/2013, projects PTDC/MAR/70436/2006 (FCOMP-01-0124.FEDER-7382) and PTDC/MAR/105199/2008 (FCOMP-01-0124.FEDER-10620). This work was also implemented in the Framework of the Structured Program of R&D&I INNOVMAR—Innovation and Sustainability in the Management and Exploitation of Marine Resources (NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000035), within the Research Line ECOSERVICES, supported by the Northern Regional Operational Programme (NORTE2020), through the ERDF.

Supplementary material

10661_2017_6137_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (132 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 131 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria João Rocha
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • José Luís Dores-Sousa
    • 1
  • Catarina Cruzeiro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eduardo Rocha
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Histomorphology, Physiopathology, and Applied Toxicology Group, Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR)University of Porto (UPorto)PortoPortugal
  2. 2.Laboratory of Histology and Embryology, Department of Microscopy, Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar (ICBAS)UPortoPortoPortugal

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